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.