Author Archives: McKinley Noble

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

Mar 3, 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.


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UFC Fight Night 84: Silva vs. Bisping – Who’s Getting Paid?

Feb 26, 2016
McKinley Noble
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Amid all the crazy changes over UFC 196, it seems like UFC Fight Night 84 has been largely overshadowed this weekend. While that seems unfair, the card is still going to offer a pretty dynamite headliner as Michael Bisping gets his long-awaited match against former pound-for-pound kingpin Anderson Silva.

And despite this event getting squirreled away on UFC Fight Pass, there’s actually a pretty decent main card after everything’s said and done. With that in mind, let’s bask in the calm before next week’s storm and take a look at the most recent fighter salaries and Reebok payouts for all the main card talent showing up in London tomorrow.

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


Anderson Silva [#15 MW]
$815,000 = $600,000/$200,000 [UFC 183]

Michael Bisping [#9 MW]
$425,000 = $275,000/$150,000 [TUF 14 Finale]

Analysis: “Anderson Silva money” has been a popular phrase for a while, and given the Brazilian’s history of disclosed pay, it’s not hard to see why. Silva has been consistently paid a base salary of $600,000 for a few years now, a relatively huge jump from his $200,000 mark — last seen at UFC 148 against Chael Sonnen.

For Bisping, the payment situation is much more curious, as he hasn’t had anything go public since beating up Jason Miller on a TUF Finale card in December 2011. Arguably the biggest draw the UFC has for England, you have to wonder if he’s making “Anderson Silva money” yet.


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

Feb 19, 2016
McKinley Noble
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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.


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UFC Fight Night 82: Hendricks vs. Thompson – Who’s Getting Paid?

Feb 4, 2016
McKinley Noble
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UFC Fight Night 82 definitely isn’t as attractive as the once-planned UFC 196 card, but it looks like the Fabricio Werdum vs. Cain Velasquez rematch will have to wait. That’s more than fine, though, since the UFC did the right thing for once and moved the PPV to television.

That brings us to our new headliner, starring Stephen Thompson and former UFC Welterweight Champion Johny Hendricks, supported by a pretty decent undercard of prospect action. There’s a lot to cover with this one, so let’s cut into our usual breakdown of previous UFC fighter salaries (plus most-recent Reebok payouts) for every main card combatant.

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


Johny Hendricks [#2 WW]
$150,000** [UFC 181]

Stephen Thompson [#17 WW]
$47,000 = $21,000/$21,000 +$5,000* [TUF 21 Finale]

Analysis: Fan opinion may have soured on Hendricks in recent years, but at least he’s getting paid comparatively well for his troubles. While there’s probably little chance of any title shot as long as Robbie Lawler sits atop the division’s peak, Hendricks will certainly net some big pay bumps if he continues to build on his 17 UFC and WEC bouts with another winning streak.

And although it’s a little old-hat to keep harping on this point, Stephen Thompson should definitely be looking at a pay raise win or lose. After all, despite a stellar 10-1 record with six UFC wins, he barely makes half of the salary that Sage Northcutt commands.


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UFC on Fox 18: Johnson vs. Bader – Who’s Getting Paid?

Jan 28, 2016
McKinley Noble
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UFC on Fox 18 is do-or-die time for Ryan Bader. If the Ultimate Fighter winner is finally going to get his long overdue title shot for the UFC Light Heavyweight Championship, he has to get past fellow blue-chip-prospect-turned-veteran Anthony Johnson, and that’s one heck of a tall order.

That’s just the peak of another excellent UFC on Fox card to date, as a heavyweight tilt between Ben Rothwell and Josh Barnett lights up the co-main, while rising talents Jimmie Rivera and Sage Northcutt face their own litmus tests. As usual, let’s see what kind of money is on the line this Saturday as we tally the previous UFC fighter salaries (plus most-recent Reebok payouts) for every main card talent.

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


Anthony Johnson [#3 LHW]
$245,000 = $115,000/$115,000 + $15,000* [UFC 191]

Ryan Bader [#4 LHW]
$47,000** [UFC on Fox 4]

Analysis: Categorically, there’s very little difference between Bader and Johnson as far as their athletic achievements in MMA. Both are top-flight 205-ers with dominant wins over former UFC champions, and both have had solid claims at title contention since last year.

However, their differences are far more pronounced just looking at the discrepancy in their last-disclosed fighter pay figures. Bader’s $47,000 KO loss to Lyoto Machida is pretty much his most-watched highlight outside of getting leapfrogged by Jon Jones, while Johnson’s six-figure tag has climbed with every dramatic knockout victory. It’s a shame that this event is in New Jersey, too. Since that athletic commission doesn’t disclose fighter salaries, we won’t know if the UFC currently pays Bader anywhere near as much in base/win salary as his dance partner.


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UFC Fight Night 81: Dillashaw vs. Cruz – Who’s Getting Paid?

Jan 13, 2016
McKinley Noble
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Dominick Cruz is back, ladies and gentlemen. No injuries, no more torn ligaments, and nothing short of a freak sauna accident can ruin UFC Fight Night 81 now. That’s clearly tempting fate, but given the UFC’s good run of luck lately, it’s a risk this author is willing to take. Although this Sunday isn’t the strongest of cards from top to bottom, the headliner is as dynamite as the modern MMA fan could ever ask for, especially on cable television.

Moreover, Cruz is in the most important fight of his life, as current UFC Bantamweight Champion T.J. Dillashaw aims to ruin the former 135-pound kingpin’s return. The stakes are pretty high here, so let’s do our usual thing and run down the previous UFC salaries (with last Reebok sponsorship payouts) for all the main card talent on UFC Fight Night 81.

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


T.J. Dillashaw [#1 BW]
$100,000 = $50,000/$50,000 [UFC 177]

Dominick Cruz [N/A]
$100,000 = $50,000/$50,000 [UFC 178]

Analysis: If you need to guess any financial indicator of Dominick Cruz’s lost time in this sport, just look at his UFC 177 paycheck and think about how many more he’s missed. Had Cruz never torn his ACL in May 2012 and been healthy enough to fight a couple times a year, he could’ve banked at least a few million dollars in the prime of his career. Now the champ is just a couple months shy of 31 years old, and will only be stepping into the Octagon twice in over a 1500-day span. Thankfully, Cruz took to his Fox Sports analyst role like a duck to water, so he’s had a solid day job to pad things out.

On the other side, T.J. Dillashaw has enjoyed a huge (disclosed) pay bump since dominating former champion Renan Barao. Back at UFC 173, Dillashaw only made a recorded $36,000 in victory, and that doesn’t include the sponsorship money he used to enjoy.

Plenty of grief has also been heaped on Dillashaw for moving from the ridiculously-named Team Alpha Male to Muscle Pharm & Elevation Fight Team, but for a man barely making a comfortable living just a couple of years ago, the move makes so much sense. Without title contention, Dillashaw’s Reebok pay drops to $10,000 per bout, and who knows whether Zuffa would issue an immediate pay cut.

At the very least, both men will be paid relatively better for bantamweights than the last time Dominick Cruz main-evented a card with reported fighter salaries. At UFC 132, both Cruz and Urijah Faber made a combined $72,000 for their five-round title fight barnburner.


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UFC 195: Lawler vs. Condit – Who’s Getting Paid?

Dec 30, 2015
McKinley Noble
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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.

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


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.


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UFC on Fox 17: Dos Anjos vs. Cerrone 2 – Who’s Getting Paid?

Dec 17, 2015
McKinley Noble
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UFC on Fox 17 is quietly underscoring the massive embarrassment of riches that MMA fans are having this December. If our latest Fight Matrix Program wasn’t enough of a clue, this weekend hosts one of the most competitive and quality-driven fight cards of the year.

Rafael dos Anjos vs. Donald Cerrone aside, Michael Johnson, Nate Diaz, Junior dos Santos, and Alistair Overeem could all headline their own UFC cards — but as it sometimes happens, we’re getting them all in one event. Let’s enjoy this good fortune and do our thing, as we run down the previous UFC fighter salaries with most-recent Reebok sponsorship payouts for each combatant on Friday’s Fox main card.

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


Rafael dos Anjos [#1 LW]
$86,000 = $41,000/$41,000 + $4,000 [UFC on Fox 13]

Donald Cerrone [#2 LW]
$152,000 = $76,000/$76,000 [UFC 187]

Analysis: Donald Cerrone has only gotten craftier with age — both inside and outside the Octagon. On little more than hustle, his unique personality, and some good social media tactics, “Cowboy” has secured himself a (relatively) high UFC salary and 8-0 winning streak that puts him solidly in the “21+ bout” range of the Reebok tenure deal.

At 18 UFC fights and (likely) paid comparatively less than the top stars, RDA has a lot more to lose here, while his physique post-USADA testing has been in serious question around most MMA circles. Either way, it’s pretty grim that a loss will cost either man a steep five figures in sponsorship pay.


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UFC 194: Aldo vs. McGregor – Who’s Getting Paid?

Dec 9, 2015
McKinley Noble
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UFC 194 is The Big One. Two title fights and three main card bouts with elite divisional talent, and each one of those matches could arguably headline any Fight Night or UFC Fight Pass event.

As far as MMA cards go, it doesn’t get much better than this. UFC 194 is worth it just for the long-awaited battle between featherweight kingpin Jose Aldo and superstar Conor McGregor alone. But thanks to the Las Vegas setting, we’re about to get a rare peek into the money behind some of the UFC’s biggest names. Let’s roll up our sleeves and dive right into previous UFC fighter salaries and most-recent Reebok sponsorship payouts for each athlete on Saturday’s main card.

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


Jose Aldo [#1 FW]
$240,000 = $120,000/$120,000 [UFC 156]

Conor McGregor [#3 FW]
$530,000** = $530,000 + $30,000* [UFC 189]

Analysis: Jose Aldo has loudly and repeatedly stated that he’s vastly underpaid by the UFC brass, often to equally loud criticism. Judging by the paper trail alone, he’s 100-percent correct.

For a man who has a legit claim to being the world’s #1 pound-for-pound fighter, his reported salaries are underwhelming to say the least. It’s also been nearly three years since Aldo’s last public paycheck, so win or lose, we’ll at least have a better grasp on his worth to the UFC.

Conor McGregor is much harder to figure out. While his last disclosed salary at UFC 189 looks high, it was a one-time deal also given to Chad Mendes to compensate for some very late emergency matchmaking.

UFC Fight Night 59 was actually the last time we got “show” and “win” salary numbers for McGregor, where he made $170,000 ($85,000/$85,000) for beating up an overmatched Dennis Siver. All his bragging aside, the Irish phenom is clearly making six figures in base pay, even before factoring in that exclusive Reebok deal he signed quite a while ago.


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TUF 22 Finale: Edgar vs. Mendes – Who’s Getting Paid?

Dec 8, 2015
McKinley Noble
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UFC 194 and Fight Night 80 may be the highlight shows this weekend, but even The Ultimate Fighter Season 22 Finale is bringing something to the table with a solid headliner on top of a not-that-terrible Friday fight card. In fact, the main event will likely determine the next challenger for the UFC Featherweight Championship.

Under normal circumstances, Frankie Edgar vs. Chad Mendes is the kind of fight you’d expect on pay-per-view, but we’re not complaining too much. But with the TUF 22 Finale bout order undecided at current editing time, let’s pick through previous UFC fighter salaries and most-recent Reebok sponsorship payouts of the top-ranked talent on the main card.

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


Frankie Edgar [#2 FW]
$260,000 = $130,000/$130,000 [TUF 19 Finale]

Chad Mendes [#6 FW]
$530,000** = $500,000 + $30,000* [UFC 189]

Analysis: UFC 189 was an anomaly amongst anomalies for Chad Mendes in more ways than one. Not only did he suffer a loss to someone not named Jose Aldo, but he was also paid a princely $530,000 to fight for an interim title on ridiculously short notice.

With that business done, we’ll see how much Mendes makes in “show” and “win” money now, especially in comparison to a divisional equal and former champion in Frankie Edgar. Don’t forget, Mendes also signed a new eight-fight deal last May, so his regular disclosed pay should be much higher than the $96,000 he pulled down by beating Ricardo Lamas at UFC Fight Night 63.


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