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Randy Couture’s Pricetag: $6-10 Million

From The Adam Carolla Show via MMA Mania:

I’d love for the UFC to step up and make the fight [with Fedor Emelianenko] happen. It has the potential to be the biggest mixed martial arts fight to date…It has the potential to do 700,000+ pay-per-view buys which is a helluva lotta money. I think 6-10 [million should be the salary] for each of us and they’re still gonna make a boatload of money on top of that.

Generally speaking, cable operators take half of the revenue for PPV events, which would mean that the UFC gets $22.495 per buyer these days. Though it’s been suggested that the UFC has been able to work out a slightly better deal with its distributors, multiplying that figure by Randy’s estimate of 700,000 buys would mean that the UFC would take in about $15,746,500 from a PPV card headlined by Couture vs. Emelianenko. “Boatload” may not be the right word if you’re taking at least $12,000,000 off the top to pay the headliners. Pay Randy and Fedor $8 million apiece or more, and the UFC’s profit from the broadcast is eliminated altogether. Of course, the equation changes completely if the fight does Liddell/Ortiz-caliber numbers, but its hard to predict if Couture vs. Emelianenko will mobilize the casual UFC fan like UFC 66‘s grudge match did.

In other words, there’s no way the UFC is going to cave to Couture’s asking price. I’d imagine they’re still interested in negotiating — if for no other reason than to take Affliction’s hope of a big-drawing superfight away from them — but they won’t agree to a situation where they’re only breaking even financially. Just as importantly, paying headliners that much money for a single fight sets a precedent that could have even more of their contracted fighters giving them grief about “respect.” We just hope the two sides can eventually come to terms, because if the UFC can’t afford to put this fight on, it’s doubtful that anybody else can.

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Bootylam!- August 14, 2008 at 8:06 pm
Hey Jeff, Randy's the most overrated? Try Brandon Vera. Boxing makes [and pays] more because its been around for a couple hundred years all around the world, plus its more popular. MMA could get there,it will just take a while. And where do all these guys think all this money they're demanding will come from?
alibanani- August 14, 2008 at 9:35 am
he just scared of Fedor so hes gonna make those lame excuses. If you a real fighter you would fight the undefeatted undisputed hw champ of the world for free. I would if i knew i could beat him, but he thats the pioint couture will neverb be able to defeat the great Fedor
Horror Fighter- August 13, 2008 at 7:10 pm
Just out of curiosity: Is Fedor a huge draw? Guys like Chuck, Randy, and Tito had the UFC marketing machine helping to grow their popularity beyond hardcore MMA fans (and, in the case of Tito, he's always been a fairly shrewd self-marketer).

Fedor was the poster child for PRIDE, but how many casual fans in the states know him? Sure, he was in the main event for other promotions (Affliction, Bodog [RIP]), but has that made him a household name?

Don't get me wrong: I'll cough up the $45 to see the Fedor/Couture fight, even though I don't think Randy will do much better than Sylvia. I'm a sucker for the hype. But will the hype draw buys from people who wouldn't normally get an MMA PPV (which seemed to happen with the Tito/Chuck fight)?
hey guys- August 13, 2008 at 5:30 pm
if fedor plans to end the fight asap, i think it iwll be a cross between the tim sylvia and mark coleman fights.. sorta just tooling the guy and ending it clean
Handy Wipes- August 13, 2008 at 4:56 pm
Hmmm... for some reason I thought Randy already had a contract with the UFC.

What happened to that one?

Maybe he should try to finish that one out before entering into another one that he won't live up to.
Shawn- August 13, 2008 at 4:03 pm
"Randy was NOT built by the UFC. Every time he fought he was the under dog."

Randy being the underdog more times than not is, of course, true. If you mean he was not built by the UFC in that he wasn't fed easy opponents than of course. Guys like Roger Huerta and Michael Bisping, albeit very marketable and talented fighters, were pretty much fed sub-par opponents earlier in their career to amp up their marketability whereas the same cannot be said for Randy. Despite this, Randy WAS built by the UFC in that the UFC was the platform he was able to use to get rich and succesful. Without it, who knows where he or any other name fighter would be. Hell, who knows if the sport would even exist in it's current form. With that being said, that doesn't mean Randy owes the UFC his sole and should work for nothing. He should be paid what he's worth which is still not $6 - $10 million a fight. Randy made a name for himself with the help of the UFC and as such they need to protect that investment and Randy needs to understand what a contract is.
Fedor Emelianenko MMA instructional- August 13, 2008 at 3:58 pm
I love both Fedor and Randy, but $8 mil. a piece? Gimme a break! To our common regret MMA is not earning *that* much money these days to afford such a price tag...
joubla- August 13, 2008 at 3:54 pm
What about the ticket sales? Does the UFC not get any of that? 20,000 seats * $x = adds to the pot.
boogersugarballs- August 13, 2008 at 3:48 pm
Randy will get destroyed, not even a contest, not even worth to show it on spike. Lets see Fedor vs Silva that would be the shit. Fuck old grey bush he's done and he hasn't fought in forever.Stick to your scorpion king straight to dvd movie career.
hooligun- August 13, 2008 at 3:22 pm
Wow! Big numbers. Here's an idea, pay em 2 mil each with a 6 mil win bonus. In most other one on one sorts, tennis and golf for example they compete for prize money so the best makes the most and the one with the most cash is the best!
Jeff- August 13, 2008 at 3:18 pm
Everybody knows Randy is going to get dominated, why do people even want to see this fight so bad? I think Randy Couture may be the most overrated fighter in MMA history.
IwannaCthisFight- August 13, 2008 at 3:14 pm
I think Randy does actually warrant a huge payday. If the total PPV buys = $16,000,000 then you have that to work for the purse of these two fighters. Besides Randy who do you want to see Fedor fight? Brock Lesnar??? The whole of this fight is greater that the sum of its parts (the individual fighters).

the UFC may not still make a "boatload" of money but you have to remember that they get sponsers for the fights and a live gate. They could slap it up on SPIKE TV in a few months to counter broadcast a CBS fight and then still make money on the DVD release. I think puttin your neck out there financially to ensure that no other organization, who would be thankful to just come out ahead on a PPV, gets this fight.

Randy was NOT built by the UFC. Every time he fought he was the under dog and it pained Dana to put the belt on him when he beat Rizzo and when he beat Liddell. I think this is part of the reason that Randy has a chip on his shoulder about the whole thing.

HuhWhatOh has a great the hell to boxers (not very good boxers at that) get paid to the tune of 10's of millions?
Sharper- August 13, 2008 at 2:47 pm
Why do people still think Randy is good? He gets owned by lidell twice, then beats only Timmy and GG (two meh fighters) and suddenly he is this God? Give me a break
rolltide- August 13, 2008 at 2:46 pm
Everytime Randy opens his damn mouth he looks like a fuckin idiot. I'm really sick of him. I've never been the biggest Dana fan but, damn Randy just comes out lookin worse and worse.
money ruins the ufc in 2010- August 13, 2008 at 2:09 pm
fuck the ufc an the faggot fighters that want this much money kick their old wrinkled ass out an give the contract to a younger, better, less costly fighter an away we go! fuck you randy askin for that much makes tito look smart...
Shawn- August 13, 2008 at 1:56 pm
I'm sick of the politics of this fight and I'm sick of all sides bitching and moaning about the other. The UFC about Fedor, Randy about Dana White, Dana about Fedor's management; this shit needs to stop. As much as I'd love to see the fight, the fact of the matter is that while Randy has gone out there and had an amazing career, he was able to do so because the UFC brand built him as such. With that said he is under contract to them and they have invested a lot of cash in him so it wouldn't make business sense for the company to allow him to do this outside of the organization. And for Fedor's people to say that the UFC won't budge is probably correct but neither will his management.

Here's the deal: Fedor needs to understand that the UFC is the goddamn place to be if he wants to A) make a lot of cash and B) cement his legacy as the best ever. That means you shut the fuck up about "not wanting to be tied down"; that's like an NFL player saying they don't want to sign with a team because what if they get a better offer from the AFL or CFL. The UFC is the NFL of MMA and that's all she wrote. Sign for a 4 fight EXCLUSIVE contract. Work it in there so that maybe you can still compete in sambo. I'm sure the UFC would be able to budge on that but not on exclusivity. Get a PPV bonus contract where you see a $1 million guarantee for the Randy fight and then a sliding scale based on the PPV numbers.

As for Randy, you signed a contract and you literally didn't expect to dominate two younger and larger heavyweights, thus increasing your marketability ten-fold. At this point I'm 100% sure the UFC would renegotiate a crazy contract deal that could double if you were to beat Fedor. Asking for $6-$10 million guaranteed is unrealistic.

Both fighters need to understand this fight isn't happening because the only place for it to happen is the UFC. Doing it anywhere else it would simply not get the same exposure or the proper marketing. These guys need to make realistic deals with the company and stop pussyfooting around. As much as the blogosphere complains about fighter pay and I for one don't think anyone in the UFC should be paid less than $5 grand to show up at this point but, for the most part, guys are paid what they're worth.

Shut the fuck up and fight before no one gives a shit about this fight anymore.
almost- August 13, 2008 at 1:51 pm
This could be a sign randys gonna retire after this last big payday
Vrax- August 13, 2008 at 1:44 pm
If he's so confident in the numbers why not take a 1million a piece, plus say 500k to win, and then settle the rest in points on the ppv. This should be rather simple.

Makes no difference though since unless Fedor will sign and Exclusive deal he'll never set foot in the octagon.
douchebaggery- August 13, 2008 at 1:36 pm
caption contest sucked ace!!!!!

SlickWilly- August 13, 2008 at 1:35 pm
Randy is delusional to think he rates that kind of purse. I was a fan of Randys because he always seemed like a stand up guy. However, Ive never found him to be a particularly exciting fighter.....I know...I know...I hear the boos coming. Compound that with the fact that hes old as hell, I just dont think he carries the fan base and interest that he seems to think he matter how many shitty movies or books he churns out.

I'd buy the fight to see Fedor, regardless of who he was kicking the shit out of.

Suggestion- Fedor versus 12 midgets. I could take at least 6, I think 12 would be a battle for Fedor.

Besides, Fedor is used to fighting freak show bouts, this is right in his wheel house.
Plain old Kevin- August 13, 2008 at 1:27 pm
Well if I can't complain about the contest there then I will complain about it here. Just fugging.. I don't care. I do care that MMA is starting to turn into other sports when it comes to money. I understand that they deserve more, but it feels like all the updates lately are about fighters bitching and saying they are worth boatloads of money. Makes me a little sad.
xocgx- August 13, 2008 at 1:27 pm
HuhWhatOh Says:

August 14th, 2008 at 6:44 am
how does boxing afford to pay their headliners $20 million per fight?

Generally, a promoter for boxing doesn't handle the actual event itself in its entirety whereas the UFC does EVERYTHING (contracts, purse, production, etc). Plus, boxing gets bigger sponsors that pay more money....and I am 99% sure that the guys on the bottom make less than low level UFC fighters.

What they should offer Fedor/Randy is 1 mill each PLUS a scaling bonus based on PPV buys. Maybe an extra million apiece for every 100,000 PPV buys above 300,000. that way they will get paid that 6-7 mill each IF the PPV's are as good as they say.

They should do the same to Tito for Affliction. you claim 500k PPV buys? Well, your pay will be directly related to those numbers.
Dr.- August 13, 2008 at 1:14 pm
C'mon Randy. I'm a fan of your's but if you want to make that much money, play the stock market. If you want THIS fight make it happen. You have you movie deals and your book out. I know you want one more big score before you leave the ring/cage but you make us think you're looking for someone else to say this fight will never happen. BOOOO.
Smackdaddiest1- August 13, 2008 at 12:57 pm
When did Randy Couture start smokin' crack?
Says- August 13, 2008 at 12:54 pm
It would do 500,000 to 600,000 more. No way it reaches Ortiz/Liddell #'s Coutures really stretching it here. UFC should do $6mill total for the pay. The winner gets $4mill and the loser gets $2mill. Never happen though...


On a side note I don't really understand why UFC and Dana would dawg Tito so much since all of his PPV's get so many buys. Work out a contract with him for the more he wins he gets the more fl0w he gets. More incentive to improve...