The UFC pay structure has long felt a bit arbitrary and unbalanced, but even this is a bit surprising.
UFC on FOX 17 went down this past weekend, headlined by a Lightweight title fight between champion Rafael dos Anjos, and challenger Donald Cerrone.
Strangely though, despite being the main event and the only reigning UFC champ on the card, Rafael dos Anjos wasn't the top earner that night. In fact, he wasn't even top two.
According to the officially released salaries for the event, Dos Anjos took home $300,000 for his title defense. That's a fair chunk of change... until you compare it to Alistair Overeem and Junior dos Santos's paychecks.
For his win, Overeem earned a total of $542,857, while Dos Santos was paid an even $400,000. While both of those guys are MMA legends, and certainly deserve as big a paycheck as they can get, that's a surprisingly huge step up from what the actual reigning champ on the card earned.
In addition to being the LW champion, Rafael dos Anjos is also #8 on the UFC's pound-for-pound rankings. Overeem and Dos Santos aren't even ranked on the P4P top 10, and barely crack the top 5 of the heavyweight roster.
Here's how the rest of the athlete pay from that night breaks down (keep in mind that these numbers do not include sponsorships or undisclosed bonuses):
Main Card (FOX)
- Rafael dos Anjos ($300,000 + no win bonus = $300,000) def. Donald Cerrone ($79,000)
- Alistair Overeem ($342,857 + $200,000 = $542,857) def. Junior dos Santos ($400,000)
- Nate Diaz ($20,000 + $20,000 = $40,000) def. Michael Johnson ($30,000)
- Karolina Kowalkiewicz ($13,000 + $13,000 = $26,000) def. Randa Markos ($12,000)
Preliminary Card (FOX Sports 1)
- Charles Oliveira ($29,600* + $37,000 = $66,600) def. Myles Jury ($30,000)
- Nate Marquardt ($49,000 + $49,000 = $98,000) def. C.B. Dollaway ($40,000)
- Valentina Shevchenko ($12,000 + $12,000 = $24,000) def. Sarah Kaufman ($22,000)
- Tamdan McCrory ($12,000 + $12,000 = $24,000) def. Josh Samman ($10,000)
- Nik Lentz ($35,000 + $35,000 = $70,000) def. Danny Castillo ($39,000)
- Cole Miller ($33,000) vs. Jim Alers ($10,000) ruled a no contest
Preliminary Card (UFC Fight Pass)
- Kamaru Usman ($12,000 + $12,000 = $24,000) def. Leon Edwards ($15,000)
- Vicente Luque ($10,000 + $10,000 = $20,000) def. Hayder Hassan ($10,000)
- Francis Ngannou ($10,000 + $10,000 = $20,000) def. Luiz Henrique ($10,000)
*Forfeited 20-percent of show purse for missing weight
What do you think? Were the salaries for this event fair?