But you get paid reasonably well if you're appearing in big events and facing top-tier competition, right? Right?
Wrong. As it turns out, most MMA fighters - even those on the pay-per-view card - get paid practically nothing for fighting in what are incredibly lucrative events, even if they win.
Here's a breakdown of the recent payout totals from UFC 73, that occured this past weekend.
Let's start with the two Championship fights.
Middleweight Championship Bout
Anderson Silva (winner) - $90,000
Nathan Marquardt - $24,000
Lightweight Championship Bout
Sean Shrek (winner) - $28,000
Hermes Franca - $14,000
Aside from Silva, none of these guys are going to make it rain anytime soon. Let's move on to some of the other Main Card payouts.
Light Heavyweight Bout
Tito Ortiz (draw) - $210,000
Rashad Evans (draw) - $16,000 (are you @#$%^&! kidding me?!)
Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira (winner) - $200,000
Heath Herring - $70,000
Kenny Florian (winner) - $16,000
Alvin Robinson - $3,000
Nothing like being on the main card and only pulling in $3,000 in prize money like Robinson. And man, if I'm Rashad Evans, I am one pissed off dude right now. I just managed a draw against a guy that made almost $200,000 more than me. I think I'll try and steal Ortiz's wallet on my way out the door.
Now let's look at the Preliminary Card of UFC 73 where you'll start to see some incredibly low prize totals.
Light Heavyweight Bout
Stephan Bonnar (winner) - $32,000
Mike Nickels - $5,000
Frankie Edgar (winner) - $10,000
Mark Bocek - $3,000
Jorge Gurgel (winner) - $14,000
Diego Saraiva -$3,000
Chris Lytle (winner) - $20,000
Jason Gilliam - $3,000
I realize that certain matchups in the sport are more intriguing and produce higher payoffs for specific participants. But man, the UFC is cutting it pretty thin on a couple of bouts here, even though all these guys will probably make some extra cash with sponsorship money. It seems pretty clear that it's better to be an undercard boxer than a top-flight UFC fighter, even though boxing is supposedly in trouble. And it's not like the UFC isn't making money. UFC 73 pulled in more than $1.5 million in gate receipts alone and the main card fights were also on pay-per-view. UFC doesn't release pay-per-view profits, but judging by past UFC events, a conservative estimate would be in the $10 million range.
Considering these guys aren't exactly fighting every week, and the UFC has been known to release fighters who make monetary demands, this sport sure puts a huge premium on winning.
Also, if you need an extra 3 Grand, I'm sure the UFC would be glad to have you
[Thanks to MMA Fighting for the payout totals]