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UFC Fight Night 20 Payouts: Chris Leben Is on Top of the World

(Evan Dunham fattens up his 401k with this slick finish. Props: UG)

If you were to look through the disclosed payouts from UFC Fight Night 20 and use them to form conclusions about which fighters are most valuable to their employers, you’d probably come up with some pretty hilariously wrong results. You’d also probably get a little bit sad for the guys at the bottom of the card, though when is that not the case on a Spike TV fight card? Check out the salary breakdown below, via Sherdog, but keep in mind that it doesn’t include undisclosed bonuses, sponsorship money, fees, or spare change found on the floor of the locker room:

Gray Maynard: $40,000 (includes $20,000 win bonus)
def. Nate Diaz: $48,000

Evan Dunham: $48,000 (includes $9,000 win bonus, $30,000 Submission of the Night bonus)
def. Efrain Escudero: $15,000

Aaron Simpson: $52,000 (includes $11,000 win bonus, $30,000 Fight of the Night bonus)
def. Tom Lawlor: $40,000 (includes $30,000 Fight of the Night bonus

Amir Sadollah: $30,000 (includes $15,000 win bonus)
def. Brad Blackburn: $13,000

Chris Leben: $60,000 (includes $30,000 win bonus)
def. Jay Silva: $6,000

Ricky Story: $10,000 (includes $5,000 win bonus)
def. Jesse Lennox: $7,000

Nik Lentz: $7,000 (draw, no win bonus)
def. Thiago Tavares: $15,000 (ditto)

Rafael dos Anjos: $16,000 (includes $8,000 win bonus)
def. Kyle Bradley: $8,000

Gerald Harris: $42,000 (includes $6,000 win bonus, $30,000 KO of the Night bonus)
def. John Salter: $6,000

Nick Catone: $14,000 (includes $7,000 win bonus)
def. Jesse Forbes: $6,000

Underpaid: Anybody making six or seven grand in show money with the UFC. You’d like to think that getting to the big show would treat you a little better than that, but it’s a long uphill climb, unfortunately. Apart from that, how is Dunham one of the UFC’s brightest young prospects, and yet only making nine and nine? That’s gotta change.

Overpaid: Chris Leben, obviously. The guy’s on the prelims of a Fight Night making thirty and thirty, while the main evente winner can’t even crack fifty grand. That’s not exactly money well spent on the UFC’s part.

Related: If you assumed that Tom Lawlor was flying high, even in defeat, just because he got a little bonus cash, he has a message for you:

I lost a split decision

windows on my comp has an error and my laptop barely works now

my cornerman got hit in the head by another cornerman, with our corner bucket and made our hotel room look like a crime scene

I went to a bar, got drunk, and not one girl even looked at me after the fight

I repeated the last sentence, the next night

and this morning my parent’s Astro-Van wouldn’t start on our way home from breakfast

congrats to Aaron Simpson


Cagepotato Comments

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whitey- January 13, 2010 at 10:57 pm
none of yall are taking into consideration that spiketv probably foots alot of the bill too. bottom line is when you get rich, you get greedy. right dana?
whambamthankyoumam- January 13, 2010 at 9:55 pm
vengful1- January 13, 2010 at 8:13 pm
It's absolutely ridiculous that Diaz got paid more than Maynard. Unless the loser is a big name draw (Diaz is not), they should never get paid more than the winner of the fight. And Leben getting the biggest check is just mind boggling.
right hand crazy- January 13, 2010 at 7:24 pm

"Total payout was about 350k, with a gate of near 750k.

Yeah, the UFC has gotta pay these bottom guys a little better. "

i agree with the sentiment, but you also have to take into consideration the cost of paying the venue staff, the event staff, a percentage of ticket sales would go to the ticketing company (ticketmaster or whoever), etc. not to mention all the different people within the UFC organization itself that get paid for the work as promoter. they may have 450k left over after fighter salaries, but not all of it is profit after everyone else has taken their share out.
munche- January 13, 2010 at 6:13 pm
You guys seem to be seriously overthinking the amount of money guys spend to train for a fight. The top top tier guys that are making Oprah money? Yeah, they'll fly in a personal BJJ trainer from Brazil or whatever at a pretty big cost.

But most of your mid-lower tier guys are basically just training at their gym. They pay the same membership as everyone else except they're getting invited to the Pro class for guys that actually train. The teaching inclined are probably teaching at the gym so they're actually making money to work there.

As for medical bills, I was always under the impression that UFC paid for it when guys got hurt.

I'm sure there are some guys who are just scraping by, but honestly, I trained MT with a guy who got tooled by Chris Horodecki earlier this year, and he was driving a tricked out Escalade. He didn't look to be barely scraping by. There's a ton of money to be made from MMA...why do you think so many companies are getting into it?

It's naive to assume that the only source of income a fighter has is their disclosed pay, and that they're spending tons and tons of cash to become a top fighter. It's just not realistic. If you're fighting because you're mildly retarded and you have no sense of business and aren't doing anything else to further yourself? Yeah, you'll probably be scraping by. But you'd be scraping by doing anything else, too.
Endocat- January 13, 2010 at 4:30 pm

Im sure his endorsements and sponorships help pay for his training. Im also sure that 100k check he get for his last fight helped
Get Off Me- January 13, 2010 at 2:59 pm
I think it's a six figure, four, five or six fight contract. Must be back ended :)

I'm not bitching here, but you gotta start paying out the fighters better, they will become better fighters as a result, it's like awarding scholarships, it's a return on investment type deal.

crittino- January 13, 2010 at 2:23 pm
hope this aint ignant, but how is escudero making $15,000? where does the "6 figure" part of the contract come in?
That one guy- January 13, 2010 at 2:10 pm
DIez if a fucking idiot hope he geta on a bus headed for the edge of a cliff
just some dong- January 13, 2010 at 1:14 pm
Good night for Oregon fighters. Too bad that couldn't happen at 102...

superflat- January 13, 2010 at 1:10 pm
@steampunk: Yeah, he made 40k in a night, but you're not factoring in expenses. It costs a shit ton to train for a fight.
Art Gibs- January 13, 2010 at 12:43 pm
You have to remember that most of these fighters signed contracts years ago. So, for example, Leben's pay is based on what the UFC thought of him before he started sucking. And they can't pay him less than the contracted amount simply because he isn't performing as well. Regarding people getting paid less, they're willingly entering these contracts and have the opportunity to perform in the UFC. If they do well, they'll renegotiate when their contracts are up. In sum, nothing's wrong with the payroll here; it's pretty reasonable.
ReDx- January 13, 2010 at 12:26 pm
Diaz made 48k, with no win bonus and he says he doesn't make enough money to cut weight. Give me a fucking break, he doesn't deserve half that.
Endocat- January 13, 2010 at 12:01 pm
Chris leben is getting hated on even though he has been in the UFC for almost 5 years, not to mention he is 9-5.

30 to show, 30 to win is the least the UFC could do.
Best_Blank_Ever- January 13, 2010 at 11:47 am
Dear God, Fry Guys...if you're going to link to these fighters' Cage Potato wiki pages, can't you at least keep them accurate and updated? Exempli gratia:

Tavares will next return to the Octagon at The Ultimate Fighter 9 Finale when he faces TUF 2 veteran, Melvin Guillard.

Nick Catone is currently scheduled to be Amir's next opponent. The bout should take place at UFC 91.

Dunham... fights in the lightweight division (185 lbs.) will return to the Octagon at UFC 102 when he faces off against Matt Veach on the show's undercard.

Seriously, guys, step it up (and dance).
steampunk22- January 13, 2010 at 11:31 am
Lawlor is funny, but even if he won he would only be up another 10k. Don't get me wrong thats a lot of cash, but he just made $40,000 in one night and that's more than I make in a year.

Also, where is the info for Rory Mac / Guymon fight? Over on mmamania they have it listed but it just says "N/A" for salary. I was curious about this one in particular as it was Rory's debut. I mean, odds are he got six and six but I'm still curious.

Total payout was about 350k, with a gate of near 750k.

Yeah, the UFC has gotta pay these bottom guys a little better. Maybe its motivation win fights, but I think these guys are probably plenty motivated all ready. If you only fight three times a year at six and six and you win twice with one loss and no bonuses you're making 30k. Thats not bad, except when you have to pay out trainers, medical bills, etc

If anyone has the RoryMac numbers plz post!

Get Off Me- January 13, 2010 at 11:07 am
2 SOTN 3 FOTN in last five fights. Winner of TUF 5. Sadollah makes 30k to fight just based off of TUF. The UFC does have to work on their pay scales, but Diaz is worth the 40k if Rashad is making 300+.
Clyde- January 13, 2010 at 10:56 am
What? 60k and they don't show it? I thought I worked with stupid people...
GEE-yuh-TEEN- January 13, 2010 at 10:54 am
When it rains, it pours Lawlor...
jimbonics- January 13, 2010 at 10:53 am
I would say Diaz is overpaid with his highest base salary of the night. I understand he was on the main event and all, but aside from a couple "i can flex my arms while submitting this dude" showings, wtf has he really done?
SiDeBuRnZ- January 13, 2010 at 10:51 am
Sigh. Tom Lawlor really is the king of self-deprecating humour. But unlike when Sadollah or Griffin do it, here you really feel for the guy...

All first comments are bitches.