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Fighters that made a million


Fast

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In a recent article in Esquire magazine, Dana White made a statement that he has 18 fighters making over $1 million a year:

 

"White estimates that eighteen of his ultimate fighters earn in the millions per annum. Many others make in the hundreds of thousands of dollars. New guys make fifty to seventy-five, depending where you are in the pecking order."

 

This made me very curious?who are making over a million a year? I thought there were a few that were obvious, but 18 seemed, to me at least, a little high. So I spent way too much time researching this to figure out who these 18 fighters are.

 

First, I figured out who make the most disclosed pay and bonuses in 2009:

 

George St. Pierre: $800k

Lyoto Machida: $585k

Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira: $460k

Brock Lesnar: $400k

Quinton Jackson: $385K

Randy Couture: $310K

 

Now there were a few in the $200k range, but I'm not going to include them just yet.

 

The biggest problem I had while figuring disclosed pay is that UFC's 93, 95, 97, 99, 101, 103, 105, and 107 had no disclosed pay. So for this, I went back and figured an average of what a fighter was making in 2008 and use that as their base pay for an event in which they fought that did not have a disclosed pay amount.

 

Please note that these are estimates. All fighters who had an included estimated pay is denoted with a *.

 

George St. Pierre: $800K

*Dan Henderson: $600K

Lyoto Machida: $585K

*Shogun Rua: $565k

*Randy Couture: $560K

*Chuck Liddell: $500K

Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira: $460K

*Forrest Griffin: $435K

Brock Lesnar: $400K

*Anderson Silva: $400k

Quinton Jackson: $385K

*B.J. Penn: -$310K

*Tito Ortiz: $250K

*Diego Sanchez: $225K

Rich Franklin: $210K

Wanderlei Silva: $210K

 

Now here is when things get a little tricky. It is widely accepted that the main draws on any given card are given a cut of the pay-per-view revenue. According to FighterLinks.com, this is how the PPV bonuses are distributed:

 

Up to 100K buys: $0

100K-175K: @ $1 = $75K

175K-300K: @ $1.50 = 187K

300K-330K: @ $2 = 60K

330K+ = (# of buys -330K) X $3

 

So to make it a little simpler, if a PPV hits more than 330K buys, which all of the events in 2009 did, the fighter would automatically get the first three bonuses ($332K) plus $3 for every buy in excess of 330K. Since nobody knows for sure who gets these bonuses, I am going to assume that if the main event featured a title bout, the champion, or champions in some cases, receive their cut based on the table above. The title challenger or a "name? fighter on the card would receive a $332K bonus. Using this theory, these are the fighters who made the Millionaire's list:

 

George St. Pierre: $6.684M

Brock Lesnar: $4.542M

Frank Mir: $4.232M

B.J. Penn: $3.554M

Anderson Silva: $2.024M

Lyoto Machida: $1.759M

Rashad Evans: $1.447M

Shogun Rua: $1.229M

Rich Franklin: $1.206M

Forrest Griffin: $1.099M

 

Other notables:

 

Dan Henderson: $932K

Randy Couture: $892K

Chuck Liddell: $832K

Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira: $792K

Quinton Jackson: $777K

Tito Ortiz: $582K

Diego Sanchez: $557K

Wanderlei Silva: $542K

 

After spending three days digging up information and crunching numbers (my head hurts), the ten millionaires I came up with doesn't surprise me too much, although the dollar amounts for a few are probably a little inflated. The other eight, with the exception of Diego Sanchez, I could see being in the Millionaire's Club as well. However, with Dana White being as tight lipped as he is about what he pays his fighters, we'll never truly know who is making the big bucks and who is getting hosed

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Wow nice work. Very interesting I would definetely like to the see the actual yearly salaries, but I would assume your numbers are very close. I remember people saying that Brock and GSP made over 3 million for the UFC 100 alone. But like you said It is hard to come up with 18 fighters on that level.

 

I don't see any contenders in the WW division listed there though? It seems like you have the top dogs in the other divisions but only GSP from WW. I would expect Alves, Koscheck, and Hughes to be up there although Hughes had a poor year. But maybe previous years.

 

That actually gets me thinking that maybe Dana means 18 fighters have made over 1 million dollars in a single year. Could be wrong though.

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Wow nice work. Very interesting I would definetely like to the see the actual yearly salaries' date=' but I would assume your numbers are very close. I remember people saying that Brock and GSP made over 3 million for the UFC 100 alone. But like you said It is hard to come up with 18 fighters on that level.

 

I don't see any contenders in the WW division listed there though? It seems like you have the top dogs in the other divisions but only GSP from WW. I would expect Alves, Koscheck, and Hughes to be up there although Hughes had a poor year. But maybe previous years.

 

That actually gets me thinking that maybe Dana means 18 fighters have made over 1 million dollars in a single year. Could be wrong though.[/quote']

 

I cannot take the credit, i did not come up with this, it was MMA news.

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In a recent article in Esquire magazine' date=' Dana White made a statement that he has 18 fighters making over $1 million a year:

 

"White estimates that eighteen of his ultimate fighters earn in the millions per annum. Many others make in the hundreds of thousands of dollars. New guys make fifty to seventy-five, depending where you are in the pecking order."

 

This made me very curious…who are making over a million a year? I thought there were a few that were obvious, but 18 seemed, to me at least, a little high. So I spent way too much time researching this to figure out who these 18 fighters are.

 

First, I figured out who make the most disclosed pay and bonuses in 2009:

 

George St. Pierre: $800k

Lyoto Machida: $585k

Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira: $460k

Brock Lesnar: $400k

Quinton Jackson: $385K

Randy Couture: $310K

 

Now there were a few in the $200k range, but I'm not going to include them just yet.

 

The biggest problem I had while figuring disclosed pay is that UFC's 93, 95, 97, 99, 101, 103, 105, and 107 had no disclosed pay. So for this, I went back and figured an average of what a fighter was making in 2008 and use that as their base pay for an event in which they fought that did not have a disclosed pay amount.

 

Please note that these are estimates. All fighters who had an included estimated pay is denoted with a *.

 

George St. Pierre: $800K

*Dan Henderson: $600K

Lyoto Machida: $585K

*Shogun Rua: $565k

*Randy Couture: $560K

*Chuck Liddell: $500K

Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira: $460K

*Forrest Griffin: $435K

Brock Lesnar: $400K

*Anderson Silva: $400k

Quinton Jackson: $385K

*B.J. Penn: -$310K

*Tito Ortiz: $250K

*Diego Sanchez: $225K

Rich Franklin: $210K

Wanderlei Silva: $210K

 

Now here is when things get a little tricky. It is widely accepted that the main draws on any given card are given a cut of the pay-per-view revenue. According to FighterLinks.com, this is how the PPV bonuses are distributed:

 

Up to 100K buys: $0

100K-175K: @ $1 = $75K

175K-300K: @ $1.50 = 187K

300K-330K: @ $2 = 60K

330K+ = (# of buys -330K) X $3

 

So to make it a little simpler, if a PPV hits more than 330K buys, which all of the events in 2009 did, the fighter would automatically get the first three bonuses ($332K) plus $3 for every buy in excess of 330K. Since nobody knows for sure who gets these bonuses, I am going to assume that if the main event featured a title bout, the champion, or champions in some cases, receive their cut based on the table above. The title challenger or a "name” fighter on the card would receive a $332K bonus. Using this theory, these are the fighters who made the Millionaire's list:

 

George St. Pierre: $6.684M

Brock Lesnar: $4.542M

Frank Mir: $4.232M

B.J. Penn: $3.554M

Anderson Silva: $2.024M

Lyoto Machida: $1.759M

Rashad Evans: $1.447M

Shogun Rua: $1.229M

Rich Franklin: $1.206M

Forrest Griffin: $1.099M

 

Other notables:

 

Dan Henderson: $932K

Randy Couture: $892K

Chuck Liddell: $832K

Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira: $792K

Quinton Jackson: $777K

Tito Ortiz: $582K

Diego Sanchez: $557K

Wanderlei Silva: $542K

 

After spending three days digging up information and crunching numbers (my head hurts), the ten millionaires I came up with doesn't surprise me too much, although the dollar amounts for a few are probably a little inflated. The other eight, with the exception of Diego Sanchez, I could see being in the Millionaire's Club as well. However, with Dana White being as tight lipped as he is about what he pays his fighters, we'll never truly know who is making the big bucks and who is getting hosed[/quote']

 

Good read and nice research Fast, i could be wrong, but when i think Dana says that, he says it with the fighters tax filings in mind, ie endorsements, gym revenue profits, outside promotional events revenue.

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"White estimates that eighteen of his ultimate fighters earn in the millions per annum. Many others make in the hundreds of thousands of dollars. New guys make fifty to seventy-five' date=' depending where you are in the pecking order."[/quote']

 

I think the key point in this is that they earn X amount of dollars. Dana didn't make it clear whether or not these earnings were provided solely by the UFC. I would imagine that the majority of fighters on your list earn a great deal of money through their sponsors, which I don't believe you accounted for in your numbers.

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It feels like they dont get paid enough, but really its pretty fair for the most part, we just get so used to the riddiculous amounts in football, baseball, basketball etc. that our fighters seem like there getting cheated. I think they need to step up the amount for the lower level guys just a bit, they should make way less than the guys at the top but if there in the UFC they need to get paid enough to live off of and it kinda doesnt seem like they do. The order surprised me, I thought there'd be a few that were overpaid and get more than ppl who deserve it like bj and gsp, glad to see that was pretty much right, seemed to be the titleholders all at the top.

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Fast: Excellent job here. I saw several articles on this from various MMA web sites and was curious about it myself. You did a fantastic job of crunching the numbers and such. Definitely a lot of hard work on your part but it made for an interesting thread.

 

Does anybody know what Dan Henderson is Making in Strikeforce? I would be surprised if he will make more there.

 

I think it is on the down low at the moment. It will most likely come to light in April when he makes his debut.

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I hate to break it to you, but somewhere your math had to be wrong; and no I'm not going to spend anytime to tell you what or where lol.Couture makes over a Mil a fight, JUST from the PPV buys...I'd have to assume all Title holders do, as they all are HUGE draws to any fight card.He got $936K in PPV buys against Sylvia, and $787K against Gonzaga.I'm sure with the added growth of the sport, that they are getting more nowadays.

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