UFC Fight Night 83: Cowboy vs. Cowboy – Who’s Getting Paid?

19 Feb , 2016,
McKinley Noble
, , , , , , , , ,

UFC Fight Night 83 is the first UFC card in a while to be completely ravaged by injuries and drug testing, and the subsequent result isn’t much to write home about. This Sunday night likely won’t have the most exciting results on paper, but what’s probably worse is how long it’ll take Fox Sports to get though all 13 bouts.

Thankfully, we’re only concerned about the upper half of this weekend’s bill, which still looks too long at six fights. But let’s do this damn thing anyway, as we break down all the previous UFC fighter salaries and recent Reebok payouts for each main carder.

Note: Divisional rankings via Fight Matrix. UFC salaries and Reebok figures via MMA Payout and MMA Junkie.


Donald Cerrone [#2 LW]
$109,000 = $79,000** + $30,000* [UFC on Fox 17]

Alex Oliveira [#58 LW]
$24,000 = $12,000/$12,000 [UFC Fight Night 70]

Analysis: Donald Cerrone’s defeat to Rafael dos Anjos was a huge setback, but monetarily, it could’ve been worse. With his UFC/Reebok tenure already maxed out, he’s currently banking $100,000 per fight in just base pay alone (even as a non-contender), which will add up quickly as he maintains his rapid schedule.

In terms of rankings, payscale, and general name value, it doesn’t really make sense for Cerrone to even be fighting Alex Oliveira — but since both are moving up to welterweight, this is likely better than giving them a natural 170-pounder right off the bat. It’s also too bad USADA caught Tim Means with a positive drug test, as he would have been a far more interesting matchup.


Derek Brunson [#15 MW]
$50,000 = $25,000/$25,000 [UFC 183]

Roan Carneiro [#16 MW]
$24,000 = $12,000/$12,000 [UFC 184]

Analysis: Both Derek Brunson and Roan Carneiro are putting decent winning streaks on the line here, but a loss arguably carries far more consequence for Brunson. At 32 years old, losing to even a decent journeyman may imply that the UFC’s close to maxing out their value with Brunson.

Despite being older, Carneiro might have more upside on Zuffa’s loss/benefit scale. But with a much higher cumulative “fight age” than many of his middleweight counterparts, it could catch up to him before he sees any major salary movement.


Cody Garbrandt [#39 BW]
$22,500 = $10,000/$10,000 + $2,500* [UFC 189]

Augusto Mendes [#215 BW]
N/A (No Salaries Reported)

Analysis: At 7-0, Cody Garbrant is pretty fresh on the UFC payroll and might just be one of the younger fighters who could test free agency by maintaining an undefeated record. That said, it’s probably a good thing that he isn’t facing intended opponent John Lineker.

Stepping up to this fight on a week’s notice, there’s not much to say about Augusto Mendes. Hopefully, he’ll be receiving a nice back-end bonus from the UFC regardless of whether he wins or loses (especially with the short-notice weight cut).


Dennis Bermudez [#25 FW]
$39,000 = $34,000** + $5,000* [UFC 189]

Tatsuya Kawajiri [#18 FW]
$54,500 = $31,000/$21,000 + $2,500* [TUF 22 Finale]

Analysis: For a seasoned veteran like Kawajiri, the UFC/Reebok deal indisputably does a ton of damage to his bottom line. At 45 MMA fights, his tenure-based bonus looks rather shameful, making up barely 10 percent of his base pay.

Things aren’t much better for Dennis Bermudez, either. Once riding a 7-0 winning streak, the TUF veteran is now on an 0-2 slide that’s going to look a whole lot worse at the negotiation table if he manages to cough up another loss.


Chris Camozzi [#28 MW]
$23,000** [UFC 175]

Joe Riggs [#108 MW]
$42,000 = $16,000/$16,000 + $10,000* [UFC 191]

Analysis: Joe Riggs has to be one of the oldest-looking 33-year-olds in MMA, and like Kawajiri, his lengthy fight history doesn’t seem to match up against his latest Zuffa paycheck. If anything, it says more about Bellator’s finances that they didn’t keep him.

Camozzi, on the other hand, has looked less and less valuable as the years have gone by. At this point, it’s hard to say which fighter is getting the softball here, since either one could be easily cut with a loss.


James Krause [#38 LW]
$15,000** [UFC 184]

Shane Campbell [#81 LW]
N/A (No Salaries Reported)

Analysis: For someone who’s only 29, James Krause has battled a who’s-who of fighters over his career, even with early scraps against the likes of Cerrone, Michael Johnson, and Ricardo Lamas. Winning over someone like Daron Cruickshank should probably warrant a pay bump to boot, but alas, Krause is only 3-3 in the UFC so far despite his relative success.

The same can’t really be said of Shane Campbell, who’s fought much lesser competition by comparison. That’s the trade-off with the better overall winning average (12-3), but Campbell’s probably going to have an equally steep climb up the pay ranks.


# = 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.


Follow McKinley Noble at @KenTheGreat1.