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Monday, October 06, 2003
Mixed Martial Arts--- UFC 44 Fighter Salaries
by Ivan Trembow
Originally Published on MMAWeekly

The UFC is celebrating its ten-year anniversary in November. In ten years, we've seen some MMA promotions come and others go, and it's interesting to take a look at the evolution of not only MMA, but also the salaries of MMA fighters.

A few notes before we get into the salaries for UFC 44:

-Fighters are generally paid a certain amount of money to step in the cage/ring and fight, and a certain amount of money as a "win bonus" if they are victorious. These two amounts are usually the same (example: $4,000 to fight and $4,000 more if you win), but not always.

-Fighters who are drug-tested before an event (which includes all fighters who compete in championship bouts) are only paid 90% of their purse until the results of their drug tests are in. At that point, they are sent the remaining 10% of their purse, assuming that they passed the drug tests.

-If any given fighter has not had MRI and MRA tests on their brain within the past five years, they have to get those tests done at their own expense, with the price usually being $425.

-All of the salaries below are before taxes are taken by the government, and these taxes are much higher if you are not a US citizen.

For each of the three events listed below, we will list the salaries for each fighter (including their "show money" and "win money"), followed by some analysis on the salaries of each event.

UFC 44 Fighter Salaries
-Randy Couture: $175,000 ($105,000 for fighting; $70,000 win bonus)
-Tito Ortiz: $125,000 ($125,000 for fighting; win bonus would have been $50,000)
-Tim Sylvia: $60,000 ($30,000 for fighting; $30,000 win bonus)
-Andrei Arlovski: $18,000 ($6,000 for fighting; $12,000 win bonus)
-Caol Uno: $17,500 ($17,500 for fighting; win bonus would have been $17,500)
-Gan McGee: $13,000 ($13,000 for fighting; win bonus would have been $13,000)
-Vladimir Matyushenko: $10,000 ($10,000 for fighting; win bonus would have been $10,000)
-Rich Franklin: $10,000 ($5,000 for fighting; $5,000 win bonus)
-Hermes Franca: $8,000 ($4,000 for fighting; $4,000 win bonus)
-Jorge Rivera: $6,000 ($3,000 for fighting; $3,000 win bonus)
-David Loiseau: $4,000 ($4,000 for fighting; win bonus would have been $4,000)
-Karo Parisyan: $4,000 ($2,000 for fighting; $2,000 win bonus)
-Nick Diaz: $4,000 ($2,000 for fighting; $2,000 win bonus)
-Josh Thomson: $4,000 ($2,000 for fighting; $2,000 win bonus)
-Dave Strasser: $3,000 ($3,000 for fighting; win bonus would have been $3,000)
-Edwin Dewees: $2,000 ($2,000 for fighting; win bonus would have been $2,000)
-Jeremy Jackson: $2,000 ($2,000 for fighting; win bonus would have been $2,000)
-Gerald Strebendt: $2,000 ($2,000 for fighting; win bonus would have been $2,000)
-Total Fighter Payroll: $467,500


-This fight was the second fight on a three-fight contract for Randy Couture, and it's a contract that appears to pay him slightly more with each passing fight. For the sake of comparison, Couture was paid $90,000 for fighting at UFC 43 against Chuck Liddell and an additional $60,000 as a win bonus.

-If you're surprised that Tim Sylvia isn't making more money since he is the UFC Heavyweight Champion, you have to consider that this was only his third UFC fight, and the UFC pays you more depending on how long you have been in the UFC. Sylvia is making more as time goes on and will only continue to do so.

-Andrei Arlovski had a unique contract that was heavily focused on the win bonus. He made $18,000 for winning, whereas he would have only made $6,000 if he had lost. Apparently he was very confident in his chances of winning.

-Caol Uno was signed to a multi-fight contract a long time ago, and there is no way that the UFC will continue to have him that high up on the pay scale whenever his contract expires (assuming it hasn't already).

-On the middle range of the pay scale, fighters like Gan McGee, Vladimir Matyushenko, and Rich Franklin are big enough stars and/or have had enough UFC fights that they're making relatively good money ($10,000 to $15,000), but they are not big enough stars that they are in the "huge star" category of money... at least not yet.

-Young fighters who are only in their first or second UFC fight generally make somewhere in the range of $2,000 to $8,000 per fight, depending on whether they win or lose and what kind of contract they get.

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