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Strikeforce: Miami Payouts Highlight Some Gender Inequality Issues

("Cyborg" Santos proves that a female fighter can stop a punch just as good as a male one, and for less money too. Photo courtesy of Fight Magazine.)

While the rest of the nation might be slowly inching toward gender equality in the workplace, in MMA a woman still does a man’s job for pennies on the dollar. At least, that’s the situation for women not named Gina Carano, which is to say it’s the situation for all the women actively pursuing an MMA career at the moment. This, among other lessons, becomes clear once we take a good hard look at the official payouts from Saturday night’s Strikeforce event.

Nick Diaz: $100,000 (no win bonus)
def. Marius Zaromskis: $30,000

Cristiane "Cyborg" Santos
: $35,000 ($15,000 win bonus and $5,000 "championship" bonus)
def. Marloes Coenen: $2,000

Herschel Walker: $600 (no win bonus)
def. Greg Nagy: $5,000

Robbie Lawler: $100,000 (no win bonus)
def. Melvin Manhoef: $5,000

Bobby Lashley
: $50,000 (no win bonus)
def. Wes Sims: $25,000

Jay Hieron
: $65,000 ($35,000 win bonus)
def. Joe Riggs: $30,000

Micahel Byrnes: $2,000 ($1,000 win bonus)
def. David Zitnik: $1,500

Joe Ray: $1,500 ($500 win bonus)
def. John Clarke: $1,000

David Gomez: $2,000 ($1,000 win bonus)
def. Craig Oxley: $1,500

Pablo Alfonso: $3,000 ($1,500 win bonus)
def. Marcos DaMatta: $2,500

Hayder Hassan: $2,000 ($1,000 win bonus)
def. Ryan Keenan: $2,000

John Kelly: $2,000 ($1,000 win bonus)
def. Sabah Homasi: $1,000

Note: Before you pass the hat for poor, poor Herschel Walker, be advised that a) he allegedly received a “six-figure” deal, probably mostly in the form of a signing bonus, and b) he gave it to Pastor Evans at Oak Cliff Bible Fellowship. So there’s that.

Overpaid: Robbie Lawler. We’re not just saying this because he hurt our feelings (or our FightPicker pools), and some part of us loves to see a no-nonsense veteran of the sport finally stacking that kind of paper. But you can’t tell us he’s as valuable as newly-crowned champ Nick Diaz, or that he’s twenty times as valuable as Manhoef.  Sorry, you just can’t.

Honorable mention: Bobby Lashley made fifty grand to fight a feckless opponent who had a week to prepare? Guess pro wrestling is to an MMA resume what Harvard Business School is to a regular resume. Just having it on there guarantees you way more cash than you probably deserve.

“Cyborg” Santos and Marloes Coenen. We realize that, due to the general lack of other major venues for them right now, female fighters are in a weaker negotiating position. But really, the champ makes Joe Riggs money and the challenger makes Ryan Keenan money? There’s no way to justify that. A bad-ass fighter with ovaries is still a bad-ass fighter, and they deserve to be paid as such.

Cagepotato Comments

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Randy Pan- February 4, 2010 at 8:33 pm
@los_Hated: Suck my balls.
los_Hated- February 4, 2010 at 4:46 pm
@ Trany Pants we go. MMA Fans are not "close-minded" u fukin duche bag...I watched the fight...I have watched many Female MMA bouts...I said that I find it"awkward to watch female bouts SOMETIMES because of how it looks like more of a chick fight happening after school than a technical sport." Hows that close minded? O I thought Smitty was funny...that's sexist? It was a fukin joke..Shit I LMAO @ MMA_mich's come back ...
Not once did I "CLAIM" that women in MMA have no skill....Or that I can beat them. Its not about gender like you idiots make it to be...bottom line not many people are into it now...thats why they get paid less
GO back to watching the View
nfuNk- February 4, 2010 at 3:39 pm
Wes Sims got paid 5x more than Manhoef which is really stupid.
mt59801- February 4, 2010 at 2:06 pm
That's some bullshit , but hey at marloes could make some serious money on the "featured dancer" circuit and she wouldn't need to pay for security. Cyborg on the other hand might be type cast into just doing transgendered modeling .
side.check.kick- February 4, 2010 at 2:00 am
Props to Randy Pan for tellin it how it is.


1. Are you the same guy that logs in as "UFCfan"?

2. How in the fuck does it negatively effect you if women want to participate in mma or any other sport?

3. Is there a way we could convince you to take your intolerant, bullshit opinions and GTFO?
ghostboner- February 4, 2010 at 1:49 am
@Randy Pan - Watch the WNBA much?
mma samurai- February 3, 2010 at 8:43 pm
I do agree with the philosophy equal pay for equal work. Whether you have tits and a vagina or a dick and balls (or in Cyborg's case both), a fighter is a fighter. Both genders get hit, kicked, submitted, wrestled, slammed....etc. so they should both be payed equally for it. All gender jokes aside, Cyborg is a freakin beast in the cage. She looks on par to hang with most of the guys. I do think female MMA is getting the shit end of the stick on this one and changes should be made. People think there isn't a big enough platform to promote women's MMA? That's retarded. The problem is there aren't enough people backing it. I'm not a huge fan of Strikeforce by any means but, I do commend them on making an effort to put women's MMA in the spotlight. Like everything else in life you can't make anything well known or successful if you don't make the effort and put in the time to do so.
mma_mich- February 3, 2010 at 7:29 pm
@Smitty: I'm sure you'd hold the belt in that particular sport, particularly the "suckin dick" part.

@Randy - as a chick, and an MMA fan, I salute you.
Randy Pan- February 3, 2010 at 7:10 pm
It's too bad that so many mma fans are close-minded about female mma. A lot of people can't seem to get past the gender difference. Someone is always waiting to be first to throw out the stale, boringly obvious sexist joke, not realizing that this essentially puts them on a par with UFC Fan's "nigger" remarks. People are quick to skin a racist on this forum, but sexism seems fine by most.

@los_Hated: You would probably have the shit kicked out of you by most of the fighters you claim have no skill. What a fucking stupid comment.
Vargas- February 3, 2010 at 5:55 pm
At some points I agree with you los_Hated, but it's not often you see a better slugfest or fighters with a bigger heart than in the female fights Strikeforce has brought us.
los_Hated- February 3, 2010 at 3:04 pm
I find it awkward to watch female bouts sometimes because of how it looks like more of a chick fight happening after school than a technical sport. Am I the only one who sees it like this?
Me- February 3, 2010 at 2:41 pm
Wes Sims got paid what he did to take the fight on short notice, knowing full well he was to have his ass handed to him.

Same with Nudge. Though, obviously, not as much.
KidDinomite- February 3, 2010 at 1:35 pm
Maybe 5Gs goes a long way in the Netherlands? I don't know but I think a longtime MMA/K1 fighter should be pulling in at least 30Gs a fight. Had he won, Manhoef should have raked in at least 50-60. Same goes for Coenen, 2 grand? She must be making more on the side....
Dr. Cagelove- February 3, 2010 at 12:55 pm
This equal pay for equal work idea is bunk. Fighters are largely underpaid. But comparing pay scales based on accomplishments or skill doesn't work. It is compared to revenue for the business
If Obama signed a contract with the ufc it would be 8 figures easily. Because millions of people would buy that PPV just to see him in a fight, even if it was the guy with half his limbs.
People should be paid on what they bring in.

That being said the ufc makes more than any other pro sport and pay their fighters shit.
echoxer0- February 3, 2010 at 12:47 pm
some please draw a diagram and explain why wes sims got paid more than melvin?
knucklesamitch- February 3, 2010 at 12:24 pm
Ben, I assume Smitty's t-shirt will be in the mail...That comment was hilarious.
imakeutap- February 3, 2010 at 12:02 pm
these numbers are only what they are required to disclose, dont feel too bad as these numbers do not reflect what the fighters made, especially the fighters that made the televised portion. (sponsorship $$$)
CheckHisPee- February 3, 2010 at 11:48 am
Wtf? Melvin only made 5k? That just can't be right.
Ben, you got some more digging/snooping/investigating to do, please.
King_KP- February 3, 2010 at 11:25 am
I feel strange about Manhoef's payout as well, one can only speculate that they might have given him some incentives like a knockout or a win bonus.
steampunk22- February 3, 2010 at 11:22 am
Santos and Coenen was one of the better fights on the card as well, thats really too bad.

Say what you will about the UFC underpaying its low level fighters but holy BALLS strikeforce, 1 to show and 1 to win? That is pretty weak. Bobby Lashley should have made 25 with the other 25 going evenly to the undercard. You can't love on 1 and 1, thats borderline sick.
El Guapo- February 3, 2010 at 11:17 am
Melvin Manhoef Concussion Relief Fund

123 Fake St., Los Angeles CA 90210
El Guapo- February 3, 2010 at 11:14 am
Manhoef making 5 g's to Lawler's 100k(without a win bonus) makes me wonder how the payoff for that fight was structured... Had Manhoef won would the figures be switched? Or was Robbie getting the big boy money regardless??

Either way, Manhoef got jobbed big time. That was most anticipated fight of the night IMO, and Joe Riggs made 6x as much for fighting(and losing) his scrap, which wasn't even televised.
ghostboner- February 3, 2010 at 10:52 am
That said, it was a pretty good fight. Hand it to Coenen for lasting 3 rounds.

Also, how much did Mike Brown make last time out? Anyone remember?
parchy mcthirst- February 3, 2010 at 10:49 am
The only issue with how much santos and coenen were paid is how many people are tuning in to watch the men on the fight card rather than the women? If people watched SF Miami because of Diaz or any other male fighters, then SF should focus on paying the particular fighters the big money. Hence, if not that many people are interested in watching SF Miami because of Santos vs. Coenen, how do you justify paying them a bundle of money? It is capitalism (I think it sucks actually), and that's how it works...unfortunately
ghostboner- February 3, 2010 at 10:48 am
Well it does suck that my girl Marloes gets 2G, but to some extent I can see the reasoning behind it. Well, that is if mine was the only opinion upon which it was based. I'm sure some will disagree.
If they had dropped Santos-Coenen, would I still have watched? You bet. Would I have been very bummed? Not really.
If they had dropped any of the other main event fights would I have been very bummed? You Bet. Would I still have watched? You bet.
Granted, dropping one fight usually won't stop me from watching any card, UFC 108 excluded. However, if the card was all female fights, or if the Santos-Coenen was the only good fight on it, would I have watched? Probably not. Buy it on PPV? Now way. Call me a sexist, call me a homo, or call me some dude who is just not that thrilled to see 2 women pound each others faces in. If it is on the same card as Melvin Manhoef will I watch it? Sure. Will I shell out cash to watch it? No.