Even though the WEC is a much smaller promotion than the UFC, it's still pretty shocking to me to see how little some of these guys are getting paid. Here is what each guy made at WEC 50:
- Dominick Cruz ($22,000) vs. Joseph Benavidez ($17,500)
- Anthony Pettis ($22,000) vs. Shane Roller ($16,000)
- Chad Mendes ($11,000) vs. Cub Swanson ($11,000)
- Scott Jorgensen ($35,000) vs. Brad Pickett ($15,000)
- Zach Micklewright ($3,000) vs. Bart Palaszewski ($16,000)
- Mackens Semerzier ($4,000) vs. Javier Vazquez ($16,000)
- Maciej Jewtuszko ($13,000) vs. Anthony Njokuani ($7,000)
- Dave Jansen ($4,000) vs. Ricardo Lamas ($14,000)
- Bryan Caraway ($4,000) vs. Fredson Paixao ($6,000)
- Danny Castillo ($19,000) vs. Dustin Poirier ($3,000)
Those figures include the bonuses given out, at $10,000 a piece, for the post show awards. Those awards include:
Fight of the Night - Scott Jorgensen vs Brad Pickett
Submission of the Night - Anthony Pettis
Knockout of the Night - Maciej Jewtuszko
It's insane to me that these guys make this little. The low end of $3,000 means that guys like that have to hold down steady jobs to subsist. The high end of $35,000 lends a bit more comfort but that includes show, win and a bonus check. Winning and getting a bonus for your performance are certainly not two things you can rely on. I'd be surprised if a lot of these guys didn't do something else for a living. Which has to mean that we aren't getting the highest quality of fights out of each guy. Which sounds crazy considering how amazing these WEC shows always seem to end up being.
The champion and main event participant Dominick Cruz only made $22,000 and that's after a win bonus. That's a mere $4,500 more than challenger Joseph Benavidez got just to show. A win by Benavidez would have meant double that amount. That just seems odd to me. I know these guys operate on contracts that may have been done a few fights ago but that just doesn't sit well. Again, I understand that it's a much smaller promotion than it's big sister the UFC but let's compare how much the champions made in the UFC for their last fight as opposed to what the champions in the WEC have made in their last fight:
- Brock Lesnar - Made $475,000 at UFC 116. That's $400,000 to show and another $75,000 for Submission of the Night.
- Shogun Rua - I was unable to find the salary information for Shogun's last fight at UFC 113. I did however find that he was paid $250,000 for his match at UFC 104 against Lyoto Machida. That includes a win bonus he was given because Dana felt like he won the fight that night.
- Anderson Silva - Made $320,000 at UFC 117. That's $200,000 to show and an additional $120,000 for winning Fight of the Night and Submission of the Night honors.
- Georges St. Pierre - I was also unable to find salary information for GSP's last fight at UFC 111 but did find that he was paid $400,000 at UFC 100. That's $200,000 to show and another $200,000 to win.
- Frank Edgar - I don't like using Edgar here because I feel like BJ Penn won the fight at UFC 112. But I'm not a judge. The salary information was not released for UFC 112 but Edgar made $71,000 at the TUF 10 Finale. That's $23,000 to show, another $23,000 to win and $25,000 for winning Fight of the Night.
Compared to what the 3 WEC champions made:
- Jose Aldo - Made $40,000 at WEC 48. That's $20,000 to show and another $20,000 to win. For what it's worth his opponent, the most popular star the WEC has, Urijah Faber, made $28,000.
- Benson Henderson - Made $91,000 at WEC 48. That's $13,000 to show, $13,000 to win and another $65,000 for winning Submission of the Night honors. This number is really skewed by the fact that WEC 48 was a PPV promoted by Dana White. He decided to give out bonus amounts more in line with UFC PPV's. WEC bonuses are typically $10,000, so keep that in mind.
- Dominick Cruz - As mentioned above, he was paid $22,000. That's $11,000 to show and another $11,000 to win.
Truly a staggering difference. Jose Aldo is considered one of the biggest stars in MMA in terms of talent but that obviously doesn't translate into a higher salary. Once again, I understand that they aren't as big of a promotion as the UFC but the WEC's one and only foray into the PPV world, WEC 48, did a reported 200,000 buys. Aldo, the main event champion of the show only made $40,000 and he had to win to ensure getting that much. Had Ben Henderson lost his belt to Donald Cerrone he would have only made $13,000 as the co-main event of a PPV that did 200,000 buys. That does not seem right to me.
I'm not saying that I bleed for these guys. They know what they are getting into and they sign the contracts that stipulate that this is the kind of money they will be paid for their services. However, I propose a solution that I think would benefit all involved. I think champions in the WEC, as it stands right now, should be paid $50,000. This would provide even more incentive for fighters to give everything they have to get to the belt and also the champion an even bigger reason to want to successfully defend it. The WEC would benefit from the many great fights that would come out of this as would us fans who love a great show and tune in to see great fights. I realize this is not going to happen but I really like the idea. What do you think?