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UFC 126 Salaries: Silva, Belfort, Griffin, and Jones Crack the $200k Mark

(Two very different ends of the agony/compensation spectrum. Images courtesy of

The UFC shelled out over $1.6 million in disclosed salaries and bonuses to the fighters who competed at UFC 126, and damn, some of these dudes are making bank. Good to see it. The numbers are below, courtesy of MMAJunkie. Keep in mind that these salary totals don’t include additional income from sponsorships, undisclosed "locker room" bonuses, and (potentially, for some headliners) percentages of the pay-per-view revenue, or deductions for taxes, licensing fees, and insurance.

Anderson Silva: $275,000 (includes $75,000 Knockout of the Night bonus; no disclosed win bonus)
def. Vitor Belfort: $275,000

Forrest Griffin: $275,000 (includes $150,000 win bonus)
def. Rich Franklin: $75,000

Jon Jones: $215,000 (includes $70,000 win bonus, $75,000 Submission of the Night bonus)
def. Ryan Bader: $20,000

Jake Ellenberger: $32,000 (includes $16,000 win bonus)
def. Carlos Eduardo Rocha: $8,000

Miguel Torres: $56,000 (includes $28,000 win bonus)
def. Antonio Banuelos: $9,000

Donald Cerrone: $111,000 (includes $18,000 win bonus, $75,000 Fight of the Night bonus)
def. Paul Kelly: $94,000 (includes $75,000 Fight of the Night bonus)

Chad Mendes: $19,000 ($9,500 win bonus)
def. Michihiro Omigawa: $8,000

Demetrious Johnson: $10,000 ($5,000 win bonus)
def. Norifumi Yamamoto: $15,000

Paul Taylor: $36,000 ($18,000 win bonus)
def. Gabe Ruediger: $8,000

Kyle Kingsbury: $20,000 ($10,000 win bonus)
def. Ricardo Romero: $10,000

Mike Pierce: $28,000 ($14,000 win bonus)
def. Kenny Robertson: $6,000

Underpaid: We’re not saying he should be paid like a star, but it’s crazy that Michihiro Omigawa can go establish himself as a top ten featherweight in Japan, then return to the Octagon and get the same contract as an Ultimate Fighter semi-finalist. (And Demetrious Johnson isn’t even making that.) It also seems strange that Anderson Silva got less to-show money than Vitor Belfort, but Silva’s lack of a win bonus suggests he’s getting a cut of the pay-per-view, or possibly a duffle bag full of cash after the fight. Which is a good thing, because private lessons with Steven Seagal don’t come cheap.

Overpaid: Belfort. Anybody else sort of surprised that he’s one of the highest-paid fighters in the organization? He didn’t exactly earn it on Saturday. And hey, kudos to Paul Kelly for clearing almost a hundred grand, considering that his biggest contribution to that fight was a botched cheap-shot.

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mmateeshirts- February 10, 2011 at 12:02 am
The top UFC fighters are balling! I love this payout system.
RwilsonR- February 7, 2011 at 5:09 pm
Honestly, how long has everyone been watching this sport? Do you really think Anderson Silva, who just re-signed a deal with the UFC last year, only pulls in $200K per fight?

The UFC doesn't want to disclose the full amount they pay their fighters, so the bigger names are making much more than the show/win money that is disclosed. Do we have to go over this every single fight salary disclosure?

edit: @ noizy - correct!
noizy- February 7, 2011 at 5:03 pm
@RwilsonR and @Kid Clam Curtains: Anderson doesn't have a win bonus because he has PPV shares. He gets a certain percentage of the PPV earnings and that's a LOT of money; GSP will confirm that. That also doesn't include "locker room bonuses" and neither does it include spondership money.
JCVD as Timecop- February 7, 2011 at 4:03 pm
The UFC has always underpaid its fighters... this is no surprise. I'm only surprised that all the pro MMA fighters in America haven't come together with a fighter's union yet.
An undefeated fighter with a good record getting paid $20k to show up, probably one of three times he'll fight this year, with no options to fight outside of the UFC? There's a tipping point, and I think we're approaching it with MMA in America.
The Fertittas are sitting back and smoking their fat cigars on the backs of fighters who just want a taste of fame. I know the American economy is bad, but come on... I make more money at a quiet desk job, and I'm never expected to perform any tasks in front of millions of people, let alone risk my personal health doing them.
Every other major sport has player's unions, so why not MMA?
Kid Clam Curtains- February 7, 2011 at 3:38 pm
All of those payouts are shit. The best P4P fighter, in the world, makes $275K for a fight? He gets to fight what, 2 times a year? That's barely more than the league minimum in any major sport. The average MLB player makes $3.3MM. And this is the best fighter in the world fighting for the biggest promotion in the world.

Kid Yamamoto, $15K? Holy shit is that a joke? What's the point? He could make more washing hondas in tokyo in the same amount of time he probably trained for that fight. And probably wouldn't get his face smashed nearly as much.

With the number of PPV buys that the UFC generates, around 1 million probably for this card, the headliners on a boxing card would be making 20 times what the highest paid guy makes here...if not more. Obviously boxing is a mess so I'm not saying that they are doing it right, just saying that when the UFC basically owns these guys, they are not getting open-market value to fight. Unless there are huge undeclared bonuses, most of these guys are probably broke. I know a few of the guys get undeclared cuts of PPV's (Brock, GSP, Randy, etc.) but $275K for Silva is garbage.

Belfort is overpaid? At $275K? Fighting in the main event of a huge UFC card? Malarkey. I'd say the UFC is overpaid, not Vitor.
Kid Clam Curtains- February 7, 2011 at 3:31 pm
Bader was signing autographs near my office a few weeks back. I wonder if he had a tip jar.
clarkkent- February 7, 2011 at 3:07 pm
Somewhere in Vegas that bastard Mayweather is laughing his ass off.
RwilsonR- February 7, 2011 at 3:04 pm
What LOKI and Viva Hate said.

Franklin deserves better. Gabe should be paid in cake.
agentsmith- February 7, 2011 at 3:03 pm
I don't think that was an intentional cheapshot on Kelly's part anyway, and considering how many punches Cerrone ate in the first round, I'd say he contributed a lot more than that.
KidDinomite- February 7, 2011 at 2:56 pm
Damn!!! Cerrone really cleaned up last night as well. Guess it does pay to be in the UFC. Pun intended.
RwilsonR- February 7, 2011 at 2:53 pm
Guaranteed Anderson gets more money than that from other bonuses. Vitor... probably not.
kangerpang- February 7, 2011 at 2:50 pm
I wonder whats worse, losing your UFC debut? or being in the same paygrade as Gabe Ruediger?......Mr. Omigawa can i ask you something?
Dagnut- February 7, 2011 at 2:48 pm
Jones gets a 80k basic and 8 year veteran gets a 75k basic?
Jones maybe huge in the twittersphere and on the blogs but is he a big a name to the casual fan? Hardcore fans are pretty much going to buy the pay per view anyway
DangadaDang- February 7, 2011 at 2:47 pm
What about Bader? Oh wait, TUF screws you.
Clyde- February 7, 2011 at 2:46 pm
Bader and Franklin deserve more. Is Bader still on his post TUF contract? I'd say he had fought the tougher competition to that point so the idea that Jones, who was supposed to be a similar calibre fighter is on more than 3 times the money to show up? Sure, he's the easier fighter to sell but that's still bullshit.
fatbellyfrank- February 7, 2011 at 2:44 pm
@ El Famous, so thats what he said, I've been wondering
Prometheus- February 7, 2011 at 2:37 pm
lol at Omigawa. Poor sucker. All that money should ease Belfort's physical and mental pain though. Jones is going to be making huge money soon...
twoleftfeet- February 7, 2011 at 2:35 pm

Too soon? The guy did get murdered.
Viva Hate- February 7, 2011 at 2:22 pm
Overpaid: Gabe Ruediger
twoleftfeet- February 7, 2011 at 2:21 pm
Man, what kind of pics does miguel torres have of dana. Gets paid more than bader to show up, then gets a win bonus? He's getting strikeforce money.
cagefightmon- February 7, 2011 at 2:10 pm
Baryshnikov couldn't have choreographed a better "FIXED" fight between Forrest and Franklin.
Fried Taco- February 7, 2011 at 2:03 pm
Damn, nice win bonus there Forrest!
El Famous Burrito- February 7, 2011 at 2:00 pm
To be fair to Paul Kelly, he was trying to dnfak klladddn mkmfkkl e gferet
Morningwood- February 7, 2011 at 1:52 pm
they should have taken 95k from kelly for the unsportsment like cheap shot. Dousche nozzle for sure.
Goat- February 7, 2011 at 1:48 pm
Bader at 20k is straight up robbery