Anderson Silva’s victory over Chael Sonnen in Saturday’s UFC middleweight title fight was the most anticipated MMA fight of 2012. This was due in large part to the fact that the challenger, Sonnen, spent most of the last two years calling out Silva and promoting the fight. Sonnen even won the “Smack-off” on Jim Rome’s radio show, furthering his near-constant presence in the media leading up to the fight. His hilariousness is too extensive to summarize here whilst trying to stay on-topic.
Even the normally stoic Silva got into the act a little, saying before the fight that he was going to break Sonnen’s arms and legs. Silva even gave Sonnen a shoulder to the chin during their stare-down at the weigh-in the day before the fight.
Sonnen’s promo work leading up to the fight far surpassed what Silva did. Though Silva saying much of anything before a fight is quasi-miraculous.
According to MMA Junkie, Silva was paid a flat fee of $200,000 for the fight. Meanwhile, Sonnen reportedly only made $50,000. Bit of a disparity there even if Silva is the champion and the bigger name.
What’s crazier is that those two fighters – who headlined the main event and only title fight of the evening – weren’t the highest-paid fighters on the card. Tito Ortiz ($250,000) and Forrest Griffin ($275,000, including a $150,000 win bonus) were. Cung Le’s $150,000 payment was also higher than Sonnen’s, in case you’re not so good at the maths.
I have no idea how that happened, but if accurate, Sonnen needs a new negotiator. Either that, or he’s still paying the price for his performance-enhancing drug suspension from 2010. That guy busted his tail promoting the fight and talking crazy about Anderson Silva and pretty much everything else. He has become the most outspoken fighter in all of mixed martial arts. And he only got $50,000. That’s pretty insane.
Hell, Anderson Silva only got $200,000. I know, I know, only. But he wasn’t even the highest paid fighter on the card. His $200,000 payday is what Nick Diaz got for headlining UFC 143. Nick freaking Diaz got paid the same as amount as the greatest martial arts fighter in history.
Obviously, no one knows the full paydays for the fighters as these numbers were only the ones disclosed to the Nevada State Athletic Commission. But a little scrutiny on how fighters are paid would probably add some transparency to the UFC, which has no competition in the arena of mixed martial arts and can pretty much do what it wants in that area.