MMAJunkie has obtained salary figures for UFC 79′s fighters. The numbers are below; keep in mind that every winning fighter’s figure represents a doubling of their base salary, except for Chuck Liddell, who apparently earns half a million dollars per fight no matter what the outcome is.
Chuck Liddell ($500,000) def. Wanderlei Silva ($150,000) — both fighters received an additional $50,000 “Fight of the Night” bonus
Eddie Sanchez ($46,000 + $50,000 “Knockout of the Night” bonus) def. Soa Palelei ($5,000)
Lyoto Machida ($60,000) def. Rameau Sokoudjou ($40,000)
James Irvin ($16,000) def. Luis Cane ($5,000)
Manny Gamburyan ($20,000) def. Nate Mohr ($6,000)
Dean Lister ($22,000) def. Jordan Radev ($5,000)
Roan Carneiro ($10,000) def. Tony DeSouza ($7,000)
Mark Bocek ($6,000) def. Doug Evans ($3,000)
The total disclosed payroll for was $1,199,000 — a figure that doesn’t include undisclosed “locker room bonuses” that likely went to the night’s biggest names. The event took in $4.9 million from the Mandalay Bay Events Center live gate, which Dana White claimed is the largest U.S. MMA gate figure of 2007.
It’s good to see the fat payrolls for the UFC’s deserving fighters, but can we talk about this Sanchez/Palelei thing? The matchup had no business being on the main card in the first place, and Sanchez just isn’t worthy of an almost-$100,000 check for his shameful three-round slapfest with Australian seat-filler Soa Palelei — a fight that didn’t even end in a knockout, despite the fact that Sanchez collected the $50,000 “Knockout of the Night” bonus. If you actually sat through the match, you’d remember that ref stopped it as the fighters were standing up, to prevent any more damage being done to Palelei’s eyes. There was no single knockout punch, just an accumulated pounding that didn’t even put Palelei to the mat. But the only other stoppage-due-to-strikes at UFC 79 was Roan Carneiro’s untelevised TKO of Tony DeSouza, and the UFC had to pick someone to get that 50-grand bonus, right?
Simply put, someone else should have gotten that money. Manny Gamburyan could have taken home a second “Submission of the Night” bonus for his just-as-memorable knee-snapping of Nate Mohr, and Lyoto Machida deserved an “Upset of the Night” bonus for his win over the heavily favored/hyped Rameau Sokoudjou. Awarding a bonus just because you have to leads to situations where a legend like Matt Hughes makes only $4,000 more than the Manic fucking Hispanic. For Christ’s sake, there are children starving in Africa. Even $25,000 apiece to Clementi and Guillard for “Rivalry of the Night” would have made more sense; they added a hell of a lot more drama to the event than the bush league heavyweight match. Creativity is a good thing, even if it means rigid traditions must occasionally be cast aside. Redirect money to worthy fighters, and everyone’s happy.