UFC 195 kind of crept up on the MMA world a bit, and one only needs to blame the whirlwind of the “UFC Vegas” week that wrapped up the 2015 combat sports calendar. However, the holiday MMA break officially ends with the first pay-per-view bash of the new year, and this upcoming headliner is a damn good one.
In what can only be anticipated as a top-tier, world-class match for the ages, Robbie Lawler defends the UFC Welterweight Championship against Carlos Condit, while a number of contenders, journeymen, and prospects fight for various stakes on a very solid card. Let’s take a look at the money trail one last time for 2015, and dive into the previous UFC fighter salaries (plus most-recent Reebok payouts) for every main card talent at UFC 195 this weekend.
Robbie Lawler [#1 WW]
$340,000 = $150,000/$150,000 + $40,000* [UFC 189]
Carlos Condit [#8 WW]
$110,000 = $55,000/$55,000 [UFC 143]
Analysis: Robbie Lawler is going into his 19th Zuffa bout here, and his disclosed pay continues to hover slightly above the last-known salaries of most non-superstar UFC champions. Aside from the obvious bonus of retaining his title, it would be interesting to be how high Lawler could push his value with a few more victories — especially given his history as Zuffa’s revived golden boy.
For Condit, this will be his first salary reported since his infamous fight with Nick Diaz in 2012, where Condit took home $110,000 in victory — barely more than half of what Diaz made to lose ($200,000). At a 2-3 stretch since then and despite a short interim title reign, it’s worrisome to think that a past-prime Condit may have already hit his financial peak.
Stipe Miocic [#6 HW]
$30,000** [UFC on Fox 13]
Andrei Arlovski [#3 HW]
$240,000 = $225,000** + $15,000* [UFC 191]
Analysis: No lie, these numbers had to be double-checked and triple-checked for accuracy. Lack of “win money” from UFC on Fox 13 regardless, it’s a little jarring that Stipe Miocic’s last public paycheck is nearly nine times less than Andrei Arlovski’s.
Then again, there’s definitely something to be said for name value and tenure. Plus, Arlovski is exactly the kind of fighter that Bellator or Rizin would love to get their hands on, so the man’s going to be paid quite well in his late career resurgence.
Albert Tumenov [#28 WW]
$16,000 = $8,000/$8,000 [UFC Fight Night 40]
Lorenz Larkin [#21 WW]
$66,000 = $43,000/$23,000 [UFC Fight Night 70]
Analysis: Lorenz Larkin has been one of the most frustrating fighters to watch at middleweight, but his new welterweight run has been great so far. It’s a bit hard to believe he ever competed at light heavyweight, which was just a few years ago.
Still, this kind of matchmaking is curious, and the salary data obscures things even more. It seems Larkin is being set up for a solid win over a great prospect in Albert Tumenov, but Tumenov equally appears to be getting a legit test before title contention status — which would perhaps necessitate a significant pay bump.
Diego Brandao [#32 FW]
$20,000** [UFC 168]
Brian Ortega [#20 FW]
$16,000 = $8,000/$8,000 [UFC on Fox 12]
Analysis: In a field as packed as the featherweight division, it’s easy to forget that a good match like this was made at all. But Brandao has plenty of upside as an action fighter, and if any shine from his losses to McGregor or Dustin Poirier isn’t there, he’s still a valuable hand for the UFC.
Brian Ortega’s future is more at stake here, though. Maintaining an undefeated pro record is a great bargaining chip for higher pay inside or outside the UFC, and losing that here does real damage down the line for a talented prospect.
Abel Trujillo [#89 LW]
$14,000** [UFC 181]
Tony Sims [#126 LW]
$20,000 = $10,000/$10,000 [UFC Fight Night 70]
Analysis: Here’s your “loser leaves UFC” fight, with Trujillo and Sims coming off solid losses. It’s doubly bad for both to be at lightweight, where the UFC still has plenty of fat to trim off the roster.
Even with a win for either fighter, there may not be a lot of long-term investment to be seen here. Both men are low on the UFC/Reebok tenure track, and being on the wrong side of 30 years old typically works against climbing the ranks in a hurry.
Other Notes: If Dustin Poirier [#20 LW] can knock off Joseph Duffy [#86 LW], that’ll be the most interesting win on the undercard by far. But the matchmaking bonus here is that no matter who wins, Poirier or Duffy can be set up for a rematch collision course against rival McGregor, should the new 145-pound champion make his way up a weight class.
# = Rankings Position
* = Reebok Sponsorship (since July 2015/UFC 189)
** = Loss, disqualification, no-contest, or no win bonus
UFC / Reebok Sponsorship Tiers
UFC Champion — $40,000
Title Challenger — $30,000
21+ UFC bouts — $20,000
16 to 20 UFC bouts — $15,000
11 to 15 UFC bouts — $10,000
6 to 10 UFC bouts — $5,000
1 to 5 UFC bouts — $2,500
Disclaimer: UFC salaries and Reebok payouts do not represent the full value or accurate dollar amounts paid to UFC fighters, which includes private gifts, unreported bonuses, and total undisclosed pay. “Performance of the Night” and “Fight of the Night” UFC bonus are not included. These figures also do not account for taxes, insurance, miscellaneous commission fees, or fighter expenses including traveling costs, gym fees, medical payments, coach salaries, and fighter management.