Posted 05/22/2014 by McKinley Noble in UFC

UFC 173: Who’s Getting Paid?

UFC 173 is almost here, and interestingly enough, one of the most overlooked stories going into it is fighter pay.

Given that UFC 173 will be held at the MGM Grand Garden in Las Vegas, the UFC will have to disclose a salary for every single athlete on the card, including their headliner, Renan Barao.

Following Barao’s recent statements about his underwhelming paycheck (via Bloody Elbow), it’ll be fascinating to get a rough idea of how much he makes now that he’s the established lineal UFC bantamweight champion. For comparison’s sake, Urijah Faber’s last disclosed purse from UFC on Fox 9 was a cool $100,000/$100,000 paycheck. For Barao, who’s beaten Faber twice, anything less than six figures just to show up must really chafe his nerves.

Faber is actually winning here because he made at least $100,000 for this fight.

Faber is actually winning here because he made at least $100,000 for this fight.

What makes that especially interesting is that Barao hasn’t had a paycheck disclosed since a non-title fight at UFC 143, with the bulk of his title defenses taking place in Brazil or a territory where the commission doesn’t demand paycheck transparency (like Canada).

So before UFC 173 kicks off, here’s a breakdown of every fighter’s paycheck, all based on their last reported salaries.

Main Card

Dan Henderson
$250,000** (UFC 157)
• Robbie Lawler
$83,000/$83,000 (UFC 167)
• Daniel Cormier
$80,000/$80,000 (UFC 170)
• Jake Ellenberger
$52,000** (UFC on Fox 8)
• Jamie Varner
$17,000** (UFC 164)
• TJ Dillashaw
$14,000/$14,000 (UFC FN 35)
• Takeya Mizugaki
$12,000** (UFC 132)
• Renan Barao
$11,000/$11,000 (UFC 143)
• Francisco Rivera
$8,000/$8,000 (UFC 156)
• James Krause
N/A (No Reported Salary)

Analysis: Dan Henderson recently stated that he took a huge pay-cut to stay on the UFC roster, so his earnings at UFC 173 will be doubly interesting. Of course, he’s also a huge underdog against Daniel Cormier, who seems like the most-able fighter on the main card (besides Barao) to earn a “Performance of the Night” bonus.

Takeya Mizugaki also hasn’t gotten a salary update in quite a while, with his last disclosed check coming up after a July 2, 2011 loss to former WEC champ Brian Bowles. Considering that Mizugaki’s maintained a 5-1 record since then, he’s hopefully making a lot more for his main card spot. He’s also 0-9 on UFC post-fight bonuses in his career to date, with his only extra cash coming from a “Fight of the Night” loss to Scott Jorgensen at WEC 45.

Fox Sports 1 Prelims

• Tony Ferguson
$15,000/$15,000 (TUF 14 Finale)
• Michael Chiesa
$15,000** (UFC on Fox 8)
• Al Iaquinta
$10,000/$10,000 (UFC 164)
• Chris Holdsworth
$8,000/$8,000 (UFC 18 Finale)
• Chico Camus:
$8,000/$8,000 (UFC 164)
• Francisco Trinaldo
N/A (No Reported Salary)
• Katsunori Kikuno
N/A (No Reported Salary)
• Mitch Clarke
N/A (No Reported Salary)

Analysis: Not many fighter pay surprises will be found on the UFC Fox Sports prelims, but people should pay attention to Katsunori Kikuno. As the former DEEP lightweight champion, he should be making a little more than the rank-and-file TUF competitors and UFC mid-carders. As an aside, his match-up against Tony Ferguson sounds like a good opportunity for either guy to earn a bonus.

Fight Pass Prelims

• Anthony Njokuani
$18,000/$18,000 (UFC on Fox 7)
• Sam Sicilia
$10,000** (UFC FN 35)
• Vinc Pichel
$8,000/$8,000 (UFC FN 35)
• Aaron Phillips
N/A (No Reported Salary)
David Michaud
• N/A (No Reported Salary)
Li JingLiang
• N/A (No Reported Salary)

Analysis: Four of these fighters have no Wikipedia page. Three of them are making their UFC debut. ‘Not much to parse through there, but at least Anthony Njokuani will make at least $18,000 for a Fight Pass prelim that practically no one will watch.


**=Loss and/or No Win Bonus

[Salaries via MMA Junkie]

McKinley Noble is an MMA conspiracy theorist. His work has appeared in NVisionBleacher Report, PC World, Macworld, GamePro, 1UP, MMA Mania and The L.A. Times. Follow him at @KenTheGreat1 on Twitter.

McKinley Noble