Posted 06/26/2014 by McKinley Noble in UFC

UFC Fight Night 43: Who’s Getting Paid?

From top to bottom, UFC Fight Night 43 may be the worst card in modern UFC history.

That’s not a statement to be made lightly, but in the process of researching previous fighter salaries ahead of this weekend, the shallowness of “International Fight Week” events just can’t be ignored.

And yet, these are ironically the exact kind of bouts that feel suited to UFC Fight Pass.

UFC FN 43 Fight Pass Prelims

Seriously, though—who are these guys?!

Right off the bat, both headliners are minor “name” fighters coming off back-to-back losses. James Te Huna’s situation is pretty forgivable, since he got stopped by Shogun Rua and Glover Teixeira. Nate Marquardt, on the other hand, is riding an 0-3 slide, dropping fights to Hector Lombard, Jake Ellenberger, and Tarec Saffiedine.

It gets worse, too. Six fighters on the preliminary ticket are making their UFC debut, probably a bit too early. And there’s not much divisional relevance, either, with only two “Top 15″ rankers out of the 20 guys filling out the schedule.

But there’s still some interesting things to parse out from the Zuffa/UFC payroll, so let’s review each fighter’s most recently-reported paycheck, and what it says about their place on this awful, terrible card.

UFC Fight Pass

• Nate Marquardt
$69,925 (Strikeforce: Rockhold vs. Kennedy)
James Te Huna
$30,000** (UFC 160)
Soa Palelei
$16,000/$16,000 (UFC FN 40)
• Charles Oliveira
$21,000** (UFC 162)
• Hatsu Hioki
$15,000/$15,000 (UFC 137)
• Robert Whittaker
$15,000** (UFC 170)
• Jared Rosholt
$8,000/$8,000 (TUF 18 Finale)
• Mike Rhodes
(No Salary Reported)

Analysis: Marquardt hasn’t had a disclosed paycheck since July 2012, so it’s fair to assume he’s not making $35,000/$35,000 to compete on a UFC Fight Pass card practically no one is going to watch.

Even if he is still making decent money, it’s probably expensive enough that the UFC cuts Marquardt if he loses his fourth fight in a row. Besides, Nate “The Great” doesn’t have a stellar track record with Dana White and Zuffa brass anyway, and he’s markedly past his prime at 35 years old.

Still, we can play Devil’s Advocate here. Losing to Saffedine, Lombard, and Ellenberger isn’t terrible. But two first-round KO losses in a row is worrisome for just about any fighter.

As a side note, it’s simply depressing to see Hatsu Hioki on such a bad card. Going into UFC 137, the former Sengoku champion was 13-1-1 in his last 15 fights, making $15,000/$15,000 to beat George Roop on pay-per-view. Three losses and five fights later, Hioki’s being shuttled off to international fight cards as filler.

UFC Fight Pass Prelims

• Gian Villante
$19,000/$19,000 (UFC 167)
• Neil Magny
$10,000/$10,000 (UFC FN 40)
• Richie Vaculik
(No Salary Reported)
• Chris Indich
(No Salary Reported)
• Vik Grujic
(No Salary Reported)
• Sean O’Connell
(No Salary Reported)
• Jake Matthews
• Dashon Johnson
• Roldan Sangcha-an
• Rodrigo Goiana de Lima
• Dan Hooker
• Ian Entwistle

Analysis: Lots of hardcore fans talk about over-saturation with the UFC, and prelims like this are a perfect case study of that point.

Almost nothing here is worth getting up at 2 o’ clock (or 5 o’ clock) in the morning. It’s true that there’s nothing wrong with the UFC using local prospects to pad out cards like this, but you can’t deny the overall lack of quality here.


**=Loss and/or No Win Bonus

[Salaries via MMA Junkie]

McKinley Noble is an MMA conspiracy theorist. His work has appeared in PC World, Macworld, GamePro, 1UP, GamesBeat, Cox Sports, Bleacher Report, CNN, and The Los Angeles Times. Follow him at @KenTheGreat1 on Twitter.

McKinley Noble