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Affliction’s Fighter Salaries Are Absolutely Ridiculous

(Fighter salaries for Affliction: Banned, from via MMA Mania. Click for larger image.)

One major caveat before we get started — there’s no way that Fedor Emelianenko made a half-million less than Tim Sylvia to be on this card. Either he was given a large signing bonus, or he’s getting a cut of the PPV, or both. No, I don’t have a source on that; you’ll just have to trust me.

Now that that’s out of the way, HOLY CRAP. There’s a difference between paying well and guaranteeing that your promotion will be a money-loser. When they left the UFC, Andrei Arlovski was making $105,000 to show with a $65,000 win bonus, and Tim Sylvia was making $100,000/$100,000. Atencio & Co. could have very generously offered these guys double what they were making, with the promise that contracts could be renegotiated when Affliction’s MMA promotion gets on its feet, financially speaking. In its infinite wisdom, Affliction quintupled and octupled Arlovski and Sylvia’s previous base salaries right off the freakin’ bat. Dana White is seeing these numbers and laughing his pale ass off.

And yet I wouldn’t even call those two the most overpaid fighters on the list, because their presence was crucial to the event’s draw. But how many fans bought tickets/ordered the pay-per-view because Matt Lindland was on the card? Enough to justify paying him $300,000? Is he really worth six Rogerio Nogueiras? What have Mike Whitehead and Paul Buentello done to deserve $50k and $60k?

And another thing: Even with all these bloated figures, the lowest-paid guys are still getting paid as little as they would anywhere else. Not that the Hominick/Young fight was a thriller, but it’s too bad they couldn’t share the wealth a little bit more. (Levens and Lizama were apparently given their salaries even though their fight was bumped, which is nice.)

Affliction: Banned took in $2,085,510 at the gate from 11,242 tickets (total attendance was 14,832, including complimentary tickets). That $2.1 million figure beats the last two UFC events held at Anaheim’s Honda Center. But it didn’t cover their fighter payroll, which is more than triple of what the UFC usually pays out. Affliction seems to have all the tools to turn a profit, but if they don’t reign in their wallets a bit, they’ll be sunk before they can get started.

Cagepotato Comments

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ajaykumar- September 20, 2011 at 11:21 pm
^ My 766k number is off, I was looking at purse pay and not total pay.
DC Machine Notes
Anonymous- December 21, 2008 at 9:46 am
I saw some numbers saying that ufc made 19 MILLION dollars PPV on one show and the salaries where of about 1 million....yes ONE MILLION!!!!And that is not counting the tickets...only PPV.So i think that guys who think that Dana White is doing a good job and Affliction is stupid should wake up!!!UFC is of course gonna pay his fighters more...but not because they saved money...but becose they will loose all of them if they don t change strategy!!!Don t forget that DREAM's also coming out.
Do U wanna talk about Wanderlei Silva??Do U guys think that one of the most exciting fighters and former pride champion (5 straight years!!!) should be payed 150.000$ ???
What i want to say is that people talk about numbers counting the UFC numbers...but those are wrong!!!Those are the real salaries those guys should be payed.(maybe not Sylvia ok,but the rest yes)
I mean...Belfort WAS a good fighter....but he s finished now...and he earns the same money Wand is making in the UFC!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Xenos- July 24, 2008 at 9:23 am
M1 global is not around for nothing, Fedor probably lost more than 200,000$ from this fight, just to promote M1. I believe if M1 works out well, its going to to bring up the fighting quality. There so many unpromoted fighters around Russia, Belarus e.t.c that may be so much better than some of the fighters even high rated from UFC and IFL.
mikeg- July 22, 2008 at 12:28 pm
Mark Cuban has got enough money to setup dreamfights for the rest of his life. If he loses a little bit of money (its a little to him) on the first card it doesn't matter as long as people talk about it. In the next 2-3 years you will see a mass exodus of top level fighters to Affliction.
j- July 22, 2008 at 4:52 am
after demolishing tim fedor can get paid whatever he wants now
ufc fan- July 22, 2008 at 2:34 am
those numbers right there prove beyond a shadow of a doubt that affliction is doomed.
That's the dumbest shit I have ever witnessed.
800k to Timmy retard to take a 36 second beat down?
fuck where do I sign up for some of that money?
dumb ass affliction!
Your Dads MoM- July 21, 2008 at 10:13 pm
Tim made 800K because they needed his big stupid ass for the show he's a draw. Who is Fedor gonna fight? This hasn't been done yet so it is now and we see Tim against a real opponent, well Randy exposed him also. You can't have Fedor out there against somebody that's a noname to the average fan. Second they made money how much who knows. The UFC keeps all the money they can afford to pay their guys more and they have been slowly doing that. Tim makes 200K in UFC so you have to offer some stupid big payday to have him show because he is leaving a sure thing in the UFC they have him fight nobody's now the UFC heavy weight division is pretty decent. Anyway praise these guys for going after the payday who can blame them with boxers making megadollars and the UFC is dangling all the fighters on a string.
The Bloc- July 21, 2008 at 9:51 pm
So let me get this straight, Tim Sylvia is paid 799790$ for 36 secs for getting beat up? That's 79,979,000$ an hour....well i wouldnt enter in the ring against Fedor for less than that either.
Fedor Emelianenko instructional DVD- July 21, 2008 at 8:51 pm
Heck, this is like *THE* most unfair event purse I've ever seen. I mean with all due respect, are they nuts paying Timmie almost 3 times more than Fedor, and Arlovski 2,5x what they paid Fedor? What the hell are they trying to achieve: drive Fedor away?!
sol- July 21, 2008 at 8:06 pm
i think it was a misprint and they missed a 0 off Fedor's pay.

In all seriousness, why the hell is Sylvia getting so much money, honestly?
axhed- July 21, 2008 at 7:54 pm
"Why the hell did Tim Sylvia get paid way more than Fedor?!!!!!!!"

read the article before commenting on it please
NECROPHYTE- July 21, 2008 at 7:10 pm
Why the hell did Tim Sylvia get paid way more than Fedor?!!!!!!!
budgetmmafan- July 21, 2008 at 7:08 pm
I don't think Sylvia, Arlovski, and Barnett were overpaid because Affliction wasn't paying for them, it was paying for opponents for Fedor. Affliction's trying to build a promotion around Fedor. To do that, it needs opponents for Fedor. Opponents that people have heard of and that can be marketed as serious competition.

Sylvia and Arlovksi have very good name recognition from their time with UFC. Both have solid resumes (former UFC champs) and are typically rated as top 5 - top 10 heavyweights (no Sylvia isn't technical, but as the saying goes, "you can't coach size").

Barnett doesn't have the same name recognition, but he is a highly rated heavyweight.

In those 3 guys, Affliction has opponents for Fedor for its first 3 shows.
norremo- July 21, 2008 at 6:30 pm
Anyone can throw a shit ton of money and but together a decent show. The big difference is in the long term that's not a sustainable model.

I'm not interested in talking about Affliction as there are no title implication (please don't tell me about the stupid YAMMA belt)

A. Silva is the best P4P fighter in the world hands down.
True Sylvia is not worth $800 but- July 21, 2008 at 5:45 pm
But seriously you thought that the Silva knockout was worth discussing? Irvin fucked up by getting a leg caught and got knocked out vs fedor who destroyed a larger opponent...... oh yea that silva fight is far better for discussion......... of course there was the insanely boring vera fight and the the two half wits from TUF (although that is a slick choke) which is far better than watching the 3 round exciting dismantling of Big Ben by AA. It is true that Affliction over spent but besides the poor sound quality and the whole megadeth thing, they did put on a good show.
shady- July 21, 2008 at 5:29 pm
$800K to watch Tim Sylvia fight? I do believe that hell has officially frozen over. And that's just about all I have to say about that. Oh wait one more thing, "Hey Tim, hows taste my big peepee." Now that's some funny shit.

To quote Dana White "This fucking guy sells t-shirts." Judging by the payroll, maybe he should stick to just that.
Spacealias- July 21, 2008 at 5:26 pm
Sometimes I feel like I am living in a bizarro world where Lame is Cool, Up is down and crazy is logical. I could give many examples but I will just talk about this new Affliction league. First of all, can you think of any other sports league that has a name like Affliction?? Well Dream is a bad name for a fight league but its OK with me since it reminds me of GLOW (Gorgeous Ladies of Wrestling). Anyways, Affliction is not a league name its not even a good team name, but that doesn't matter cuz Trump is putting up cash to promote "Affliction".
Other points:
-In what crazy fashion world are those shirts even cool? They are ugly sketched dragon eagle things. Yet every fighter wear's them either because they are paid too or they are free. But it still doesn't make the company anything other than a bad T-shirt maker. Where did they get all their money?
-Sylvia is a put on 6 boring fights in a row and basically got ran out of the UFC and Affliction makes him a headliner and pays him $800k. Of course he lasted 36 seconds, he already got his money. He probably barely trained. Arlovski would have been a better fight against Fedor at this point.
-This card was like a circus freak show. It had guys that for whatever reason wouldn't or couldn't fight in the UFC but people still love them for fights they had 5 years ago like Lindland, Barnett, Fedor, Sobral, Belfort and Rizzo. All of those guys are way over the hill whether you like them or not. What truly competitive match has Fedor had in the past 4 years? And putting him up against Randy Couture won't change much. I would like to see him fight a young up and comer like Cain Velasquez or even Lyoda Machida. I just am not hugging Fedor's nuts because he was great in Pride 4-5 years ago.
-All of my friends that either train or are true MMA fans have watched both events on Saturday but when we talk about the fights, we end up only talking about UFC fights... because even if they were mismatches, nothing that happened in the Affliction broadcast could compare with the Silva Knockout of Irvin, The Rory Markham KO of the night, The Peruvian Necktie applied by CB or the outright thrashing applied by Cain Velasquez. And I didn't even mention how impressive Frankie Edgar looked.
-Only in this bizarro world of ours is Affliction still being discussed as a legitimate organization. Come back to me in two years and lets see where they are at.
KellenAvalanche- July 21, 2008 at 4:38 pm
That' some funny shit Participant. Funny Fedor video :
Maud- July 21, 2008 at 4:20 pm
You hit it right on the head Krum. Donald Trump has invested heavily into Affliction, and he would be the first to tell you it takes money to make money.
Krum- July 21, 2008 at 4:08 pm
I wouldnt be surprised if this first even was setup disregarding profit, in order to put on a big spectacle and increase the chance of future profits in other shows. 90% businesses lose money at first. Also, I seem to remember Affliction paying M1 $1million just to allow Fedor out of his contract to fight. I bet Fedor saw some of that. But yeah, Sylvia got paid WAY WAY too much.
Seen Idiocracy- July 21, 2008 at 3:10 pm
Mildly entertaining but not as good as office space (same creator) but still more entertaining than your story.
Participant- July 21, 2008 at 2:55 pm
Holy SH!T! $800 grand?

This reminds me back in the day during the Mike Tyson era I would claim,"I'd step in the ring and get hit by Mike for 1million". Silly enough I was only 10yrs old, but I would still do it today... if it was Tyson and those big ass gloves.

But Fedor?

Hell, I'd do it for free just so I could tell my retarded grandkids (using that verbal keyboard Stephen Hawking shows off at his parties) about the time I fought the best of the best [stop] And how I got my ass kicked [stop]

I'd also write a book about how getting hit by Fedor changed my life and altered my DNA making my offspring stoopid. Then they copulate with the population and.. uh, eventually... Fedor unknowingly changes the world with one punch! He's amazing.

P.S. anyone seen the movie Idiocracy?
Netterbog- July 21, 2008 at 2:40 pm
I guarantee the big names who weren't paid a ton (Nog, Fedor, Babalu(?) etc.) are getting a nice piece of the PPV pie. That way they don't have to actually make their earnings public. Guys like Lindland and Timmy getting mad cash had to be an up-front payment w/o any residuals at all. And yeah, I wouldn't be surprised if M1 was paying separately, Trump was paying separately, the T-Shirt wing of affliction paying "sponsorship funds" separately...needless to say, I'm sure there's a LOT more money floating around on this one. Hell, it was a 3+ hour commercial for Affliction T-Shirts, you KNOW they sunk a ton of cash into it.

Even though he's declared bankruptcy more times than I can count, I gotta believe that Trump was smart enough to set up the fighters' pay in a way that would (1) allow Affliction to turn a profit, (2) keep the fighters they have happy & coming back for more, and (3) lure as many other big names as possible.

I bet that a TON of UFC guys are looking at these numbers and chomping at the bit to get onto the next Affliction card. Hell, I wouldn't be surprised if Brandon Vera's in DW's office right now, telling him he's walking away from his UFC contract.
Dr.- July 21, 2008 at 2:38 pm
Amen to that. There's NO WAY Tim should be making that $$$. I didn't order the PPV because of Sylvia. I did to see Fedor put him to bed. Arlovski and Rothwell was also an interest but miles above Tim. I wasn't going to watch a show that had Launchpad and Nasalboy on it, so seeing how Affliction put on their show sealed the deal. Fucking Launchpad. I still have no interest in watching that fight online.

As much of a draw they thought Sylvia was, he wasn't. It was a chance to see all the fighters on the card. My biggest disappointment was not having Buentello get KTFO'd to send his fat ass packing.

BTW, fuck off with that stupid shit about posting too quickly. This is ONE comment and it took more than 1/2 a second to write.
Anonymous- July 21, 2008 at 2:24 pm
fedor only got paid 300, because part of the contract was that the show be co promoted with m1. so m1 gets thier name out there, the they cut fedor a check.