UFC 196: McGregor vs. Diaz – Who’s Getting Paid?

3 Mar , 2016,
McKinley Noble
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UFC 196 may have lost its main event superfight between Conor McGregor and Rafael dos Anjos, but we’ve still got a pretty solid shindig on our hands this weekend. Aside from the quick entry of Nate Diaz, we’ve luckily managed to retain Miesha Tate, Holly Holm, and a pretty stacked undercard that’s looking rife with potential action.

Hopefully, no one slips in the shower or tests positive, but we’ll keep our fingers crossed. For now, let’s run down the main card talent, their most recent UFC salaries and Reebok payouts, and what it all means in the context of their upcoming bouts.

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


Conor McGregor [#1 FW]
$540,000 = $500,000** + $40,000* [UFC 194]

Nate Diaz [#9 LW]
$60,000 = $20,000/$20,000 + $20,000* [UFC on Fox 17]

Analysis: We’ve said it before, but perhaps no fighter’s tenure in the UFC matches up to their disclosed pay as poorly as Nate Diaz. As a seasoned “Top 10” ranked lightweight with some comparatively big name value, it’s frankly appalling that his public Zuffa salary is half of what someone like Sage Northcutt makes.

About the only silver lining for Diaz is that he finally hit 21 UFC bouts last time around, so he’ll now make $20,000 in Reebok pay as a bare minimum no matter who he fights. And regardless of whether he beats Conor McGregor, one would think that Diaz should be making at least six figures just to step in on such short notice against the sport’s biggest star.


Holly Holm [#1 W135]
$52,500 = $25,000/$25,000 + $2,500* [UFC Fight Night 71]

Miesha Tate [#4 W135]
$81,000 = $38,000/$38,000 + $5,000* [UFC 183]

Analysis: UFC 196 will yield Holly Holm’s first publicly disclosed salary since before she beat Ronda Rousey, so it’ll be interesting to get a minor sense of what her unusually capable management team negotiated for her as the champion. At the very least, it’s great that Holm already benefits from the $2,500 to $40,000 jump in Rebook pay.

Miesha Tate may even be making more than Holm at this point, and the bump to $30,000 in Reebok money for her is great as well. But even at the veteran point of her career, it’s not unreasonable to think Tate could/should be a six-figure salary fighter on her name value alone.


Ilir Latifi [#21 LHW]
$49,000 = $22,000/$22,000 + $5,000* [UFC Fight Night 81]

Gian Villante [#33 LHW]
$38,000 = $19,000/$19,000 [UFC 167]

Analysis: All things considered, Ilit Latifi has a pretty solid 4-2 record in the UFC so far, and his international appeal should start fetching him more pay if he continues to rack up wins. If he held out for free agency, there’s no way other promotions wouldn’t bite.

Gian Villante has many of the same perks without the international appeal, so there’s a bit you can do with his talent in such a thin division. He also makes far, far less than much greener fighters on the Zuffa payroll, but that’s another curse of light heavyweight.


Corey Anderson [#19 LHW]
$60,500 = $29,000/$29,000 + $2,500* [UFC 191]

Tom Lawlor [#30 LHW]
$24,000 = $12,000/$12,000 [UFC on Fuel TV 3]

Analysis: Much of the hype around Corey Anderson deflated when he lost to Gian Villante in a “Fight of the Night” effort last April, but he’s rebounded pretty well since then. With another strong performance, Anderson would also be a great candidate for free agency.

Tom Lawlor has had a pretty infrequent fight schedule, so an update on his disclosed pay seems long overdue, especially given his own public criticisms about the Northcutt Limit. At just 10 UFC bouts to date, he’s also probably not a good candidate for maximizing his Reebok payouts, especially at 32 years old.


Amanda Nunes [#8 W135]
$15,000** [UFC 178]

Valentina Shevchenko [#14 W135]
$26,500 = $12,000/$12,000 + $2,500 [UFC on Fox 17]

Analysis: Like most women in the UFC, Amanda Nunes isn’t making much money compared to the rest of the Zuffa roster, especially when the limited Reebok pay is factored into the picture. At 27 years old, she at least has plenty of time to rack up as many wins as she can before hitting the downside of her athletic prime.

Valentina Shevchenko confirmed the ground floor of women’s bantamweight pay in her UFC debut, and with the right matches, she’ll shoot up the rankings in short order. That’s valuable enough in its own right, and Shevchenko would definitely be a very smart selection for any future UFC cards taking place in Russia.


# = 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.