Posted 07/15/2014 by McKinley Noble in UFC

UFC Fight Night 45: Who’s Getting Paid?

There is no good reason we can’t have more fight cards like UFC Fight Night 45 in our lives. Donald Cerrone vs. Jim Miller? On a Wednesday? Broadcasting on “free” TV no less, provided you have a cable package? That’s how it should be.

It’s so nice to not give up a weekend night to a UFC event, nor pay $60 for pay-per-view.

Speaking of which, the next three months or so is going to see no less than 10 different UFC Fight Nights in total. That’s not a complaint, either. More fights for cheap is a great deal, especially when fans can pick-and-choose on watching headliners like “Cowboy” Cerrone, Conor McGregor, Michael Bisping, Benson Henderson, and Goddamn, the list just goes on and on.

UFC: Cerrone SMASH

Really, though, how could you miss a Cerrone fight? It’s almost like watching the Running of the Bulls. (H/T MMA Junkie)

For MMA nerds like this author, one of the most fascinating things about this card is Cerrone, and how he’s simply determined to cash as many paychecks as humanly possible. He’s simply fueled by money. Even the UFC’s partner companies have been picking up on it.

But there’s also a huge problem with UFC Fight Night 45—and it may be a historic travesty.

So once again, let’s break out the numbers and go through this UFC card by analyzing the fighters, their most-recently reported Zuffa payrolls, and exactly what it means in the grand scheme of this MMA event.

UFC Fight Night 45 Main Card

Donald Cerrone
$57,000/$57,000 (UFC on Fox 11)
Jim Miller
$46,000/$46,000 (UFC 168)
Edson Barboza
$29,000** (UFC on Fox 11)
• Rick Story
$27,000/$27,000 (UFC 167)
• Evan Dunham
$25,000** (UFC 167)
• Justin Salas
$12,000/$12,000 (UFC FN 40)
• Alptekin Özkiliç
$10,000** (UFC FN 35)
• Alex White
$8,000/$8,000 (UFC on Fox 11)
• Joe Proctor
$8,000** (UFC on Fox 5)
• Leonardo Mafra
(No Salary Reported)
John Lineker
(No Salary Reported)
• Lucas Martins
(No Salary Reported)

Analysis: Shortly before this column got rolling, current UFC holdout Nate Diaz recently posted his displeasure about Cerrone headling UFC Fight Night 45. That’s really kind of sad. Not only has Cerrone earned this by remaining a top-ranked lightweight for ages, but he also hasn’t headlined a card since WEC 45, nearly half a decade ago.

But Diaz the Younger should really learn a lesson from Cerrone instead of pouting. Since Cerrone fought Nate at UFC 141, he’s done the smart thing by staying busy and raising his contracted salary limit. From UFC on Fuel 3 to UFC on Fox 11, Mr. “Get Dat Paper” has collected at least $622,000 in paychecks. That’s half a million dollars just in disclosed salaries and bonuses alone in eight fights over less than three years. About the only thing more amazing than that is Cerrone always claiming he’s somehow broke.

Nate Diaz, on the other hand, has only made $210,000 in disclosed pay since beating Cerrone, with just four fights since then.

That means Diaz makes less in average pay per fight than a guy he clobbered, and he’s a valuable big-name fighter sitting at home wasting his prime instead of finishing out his current contract to get a better deal. That’s dumb. That’s really, really, really dumb.

On a quick side note, it’s surprising that #7 ranked flyweight John Lineker hasn’t had a single disclosed UFC salary despite six fights and two years under the Zuffa banner. That’s just odd. He’s either getting paid a pretty bad rate or a ridiculously good fee for a 125-pounder.

Fox Sports 1 Prelims

• Gleison Tibau
$39,000** (UFC 168)
• Pat Healy
$25,000** (UFC on Fox 11)
Jessamyn Duke
$8,000/$8,000 (TUF 18 Finale)
• Aljamain Sterling
$8,000/$8,000 (UFC 170)
• Hugo Viana
$8,000** (UFC on Fox 7)
• Yosdenis Cedeno
$8,000** (UFC 170)
• Leslie Smith
(No Salary Reported)
• Jerrod Sanders

Analysis: Does anyone else think that this is a really, really weird fight for Jessamyn Duke? Losing pretty cleanly to a fighter like Bethe Correia shouldn’t send her into a match against a much better like Leslie Smith, someone who’s given Sarah Kaufman a tough time.

Also, we should probably assume that Pat Healy is pretty much fighting for his job at this point. Given his age (30) and losing efforts against some tough-but-minor-name-value competition (Jorge Masvidal, Bobby Green, and Khabib Nurmagomedov), it wouldn’t be a shock if he gets cut with a loss here.

UFC Fight Pass Prelims

• Cláudia Gadelha
• Tina Lähdemäki

Analysis: Someone must have a sick grudge against poor Cláudia Gadelha and Tina Lähdemäki. Why is the UFC’s first-ever strawweight bout on Fight Pass? That makes no sense. Jessamyn Duke and Leslie Smith couldn’t be slotted in this spot instead?

As mentioned earlier, this is a travesty of historic proportions. Let’s hope one of these two 115-pound women notches a spectacular finish and makes it onto the main broadcast.


**=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