Dana White: How fighter pay really works




UFC President Dana White recently sat down for an interview with James Koh for Fox 11 Los Angeles, and covered a wide variety of topics including Roy Nelson ("Ultimate Underachiever") and how fighter pay really works.

James Koh: This Manny Pacquiao / Timothy Bradley fight ... brought in about $9 million at the gate ... people bought about 900,000 Pay Per View buys, Manny's guaranteed about $26 million, Bradley guaranteed about $5 million. But when we look at UFC 148, Silva vs Sonnen, one of the most popular fights in UFC history, you guys brought in $7million at the gate, you guys sold about a million Pay Per View buys ...

Dana White: (interrupting) ... allegedly.

JK: Allegedly (laughs) ... when we look at the Nevada State Athletic Commission, and we look at what Anderson Silva made, $200,000, Chael Sonnen made 50 grand -- 50 grand! -- So people say, 'This is crazy!', so I gotta ask you, why don't you guys disclose guaranteed amounts?

DFW: Well we do, that is the guaranteed amount. That's the guaranteed amount. So here's the way that this really works ... you hear about Manny and Floyd, those are the two guys that are getting paid the big money ... the reality is if you look at this Dawson / Ward fight that just happened last weekend ... I think (Ward) made about $1.6 million and Dawson made about $600,000 ... that's a big fight outside of a Pacquiao / Floy fight, and if you look at the UFC numbers compared to Boxing now, we smoke them ... then when you look down their card, the numbers drop big time. When you look at a UFC card, the numbers are consistent all the way through.

I'm not running around your question here, the answer to your question is, these guys obviously get paid a lot more money than what you're seeing on things, they come in, negotiate a contract, and there's other ways that these guys get paid through bonuses and incentives. And in no way, shape or form is there anywhere in their contract that says they couldn't come out and tell you what they make.

If Georges St. Pierre was sitting in this chair, or Anderson Silva, and they wanted to tell you what their last pay day was, they absolutely, positively have the right to do that, there's no gag order on them or anything; they don't want you to know ...

When we first did this deal with Fox, right? The Fox guys says ... 'What do these guys get paid?', we started telling them what some of the guys get paid and they were like, 'Oh my god! You guys should be screaming this from the roof tops ... don't you remember when Tyson used to fight, and they'd put in the thing that he was making $30 million for that fight?' and I said to them, 'Yeah, and look what happened to Mike Tyson', you know what I mean?

When your money gets published and you're making big, big money ...

JK: (interrupting) ... the scavengers come out.

DFW: They come out of the woodwork, man, and they're all over you. You know, we don't disclose what the fighters make and it kills the media, and it kills the fans, they want to know so bad ...

JK: (interrupting) ... because we see it in every other sport, Dana!

DFW: (interrupting) ... in every other sport, I agree. No I agree with you, 100%.

JK: How did you get to that conclusion that you're not going to disclose that?

DFW: It just started to happen, I mean we never disclosed our Pay Per View numbers because we don''t have to, we're not a public company, we never ... it's not about the money, 'cause no matter what in the media, because you don't know 'Oh these guys are getting screwed, they're not getting paid enough money', if it was out there on how much these guys really were making,'Oh this guy was making $10 million for this fight, and that's how he fought, it becomes this, that ...'

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