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UFC 159 Salaries: The Case Against Michael Bisping’s Ceaseless Rage

(High-fEYEve! Photo courtesy of Getty Images.) 

In the weeks leading up to his battle with Alan Belcher at UFC 159, we noticed that Michael Bisping appeared to be even more irked than usual – which is saying something when you’re talking about a guy whose rage often exceeds the physical limitations of his human vessel – and hypothesized that “The Count” might just be the kind of fighter who needs anger as a motivator. Bisping has admitted it himself and famed hacker Jerry Rips has since passed along audio proof.

But after taking a gander over the UFC 159 salaries, which were released by The New Jersey State Athletic Commission (via MMA-Manifesto) over the weekend, one begins to wonder just what the hell Bisping is so angry at these days. Either the “grudge match” angle is the only one he knows how to play or the $275,000 to show/$150,000 to win rate he is currently receiving is being stolen out from under him, because with that payday, you think he’d be all smiles.

Bisping’s $425k is just one of many head-scratchers that the UFC 159 salary list has to offer, so join us after the jump for a full rundown of the payout and a few totally unbiased observations.

Attendance: 15,227
Gate: $2,700,000

Michael Bisping: $425,000 ($275,000 to show, $150,000 win bonus)

Jon Jones$400,000

Pat Healy$152,500 ($17,500 to show, $5,000 win bonus, $65,000 Fight of the Night bonus, $65,000 Submission of the Night bonus)

Roy Nelson$113,000 ($24,000 to show, $24,000 win bonus, $65,000 Knockout of the Night bonus)

Jim Miller$106,000 ($41,000 to show, $65,000 Fight of the Night bonus)

Cheick Kongo: $70,000

Phil Davis$60,000 ($30,000 to show, $30,000 win bonus)

Chael Sonnen$50,000

Alan Belcher: $37,000

Ovince St. Preux: $34,000 ($17,000 to show, $17,000 win bonus)

Cody McKenzie: $20,000 ($10,000 to show, $10,000 win bonus)

Leonard Garcia: $20,000

Rustam Khabilov: $16,000 ($8,000 to show, $8,000 win bonus)

Bryan Caraway: $16,000 ($8,000 to show, $8,000 win bonus)

Steven Siler: $16,000 ($8,000 to show, $8,000 win bonus)

Sara McMann: $12,000 ($6,000 to show, $6,000 win bonus)

Gian Villante: $12,000

Vinny Magalhaes: $8,000

Johnny Bedford: $8,000

Yancy Medeiros: $6,000

Sheila Gaff: $6,000

Kurt Holobaugh: $6,000

As always, these figures are absent of any locker room bonuses or undisclosed payments/fees the fighters may have received.

Overpaid: Where do we begin? Oh yeah, we already started with Bisping. But rather than attempt to somehow invalidate Bisping’s current pay rate with a series of faux facts and personal attacks (which is, oddly enough, the name of the glam metal band I was in back in the 80′s. Your town wasn’t even on the map if FF&PA hadn’t rocked your local strip mall.), we’d like to try and justify it. So here we go:

-According to, Bisping is currently the 4th ranked middleweight in the UFC, just below Yushin Okami (current pay rate: $42k/42k) and Vitor Belfort (also 275k to show).

-Bisping also happens to be a large draw in the UK market, which isn’t exactly quantifiable, but hey, we’ll give him the benefit of the doubt. Then again, he hasn’t fought in his native country in nearly three years, so that kind of makes you wonder how much of an impact he’s been having on the British MMA scene nowadays.

-Following a three-fight win streak, Bisping signed an eight-fight extension at the end of 2011. In the time since, he has gone 3-2, with wins over Jason Miller, Brian Stann, and Belcher. None of those fights earned him an end-of-the-night bonus.

-Taking all of those factors into account (foreign draw, top 5 ranking, 3-2 in his last five); the closest fighter you could compare Bisping to would be Antonio Rogerio Nogueira, the 5th-ranked LHW who has received near deity-status from the Brazilian people along with his big bro. Lil’ Nog currently makes $174,000 to show, so with the outlier being Bisping’s coaching/fighting gigs on TUF, do you think the Brit has earned his pay rate?

Oh yeah, and 70k for Cheick Kongo’s clearly overrated striking, repeatedly horrendous performances in victory, and history of dirty tactics? Get the fuck out of here.

Underpaid: By the UFC’s current standards, no one really. We all know that Chael Sonnen has made more money in pay-per-view percentages than George Foreman has in grill sales, so let’s just take his figure with a massive grain of salt. While Roy Nelson can chalk up his low show rate to the woes of being a TUF alum (and being a thorn in Dana White’s ass), it’s hard to call a guy who continuously picks up fifty to sixty thousand dollar KOTN bonuses “underpaid.” Swing away, Roy, for your livelihood depends on it.

-J. Jones

Cagepotato Comments

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cahutyzuqys- April 30, 2013 at 3:18 pm
as Norman implied I'm shocked that a person able to earn $8187 in 4 weeks on the computer. have you read this webpage...
realfighterfan- April 30, 2013 at 2:02 am
For sure Kongo is overpaid but the most overpaid fighter in the entire UFC is Bisping. No way Bisping is worth 400 + a fight. maybe $50 k. Only time Bisping is worth watching is when he gets KO'd OUT COLD.
Pen Fifteen- April 29, 2013 at 7:10 pm
How the fuck is Kongo overpaid at 70/70? The dude is an 18 fight UFC vet in the thinnest weightclass in the world. Sure, he's clearly on the downward side of his career, but I'd hardly call his back-from-the-grave victory over Pat Barry or his 7 other stoppage victories "horrendous." The UFC will be making money off of Kongo highlights, both wins and losses, long after that dude has stop collecting purses.
teep- April 29, 2013 at 4:34 pm
DW loves the UK guys. He lets them get away with about anything. Including spitting at the challenger's corner and flipping said corner off during live TV. Bisping knows this and can do no wrong in the UFC and uses to his advantage. My question would be: Does Bisping get paid in pounds or dollars?
danomite- April 29, 2013 at 4:19 pm
I don't write the checks so I won't say who is over paid, but clearly Sugar Roy Nelson is under paid at 24/24. Those TUF contracts suck balls.
Mr_Misanthropy- April 29, 2013 at 4:02 pm
I would pay Pissbing a box full of busted assholes and spotted dick, throw him in a rowboat and tell him to paddle his boring ass back across the pond. He needs to learn how to tell jokes like Chael because his schtick is pretty much worn out at this point.
CWill859- April 29, 2013 at 3:16 pm
Chael claims he will have made 8-10 mil this fight. That seems like a stretch.
Alan K- April 29, 2013 at 3:07 pm
Guys like Chuck and Randy would get paid 225-250K per fight without a win bonus. How the hell does Bisping deserve 275 plus a 150 win bonus? He's never even fought for a title. Are they adding his pay as a Fox analyst into his fighter pay?
Imnotamoose- April 29, 2013 at 2:43 pm
Yeah but both Jones and Sonnen get a percentage of the PPV buys. I guarantee you Sonnen makes waaaaay more than 50k.
dipsetkilla316- April 29, 2013 at 2:31 pm
How the fuck did Kongo make more then cheal. I would not be paying Kongo 70 k!!! More like 20 k. Bisping more then jones woooooow.