Sunday, February 4, 2007

How the fighters get paid

By Tomer Chen

One of the biggest topics of discussion throughout the hardcore MMA fan base tends to be the topic of ‘How much did _________ get paid for his last fight?’. After all, as a sports fan, one wants to imagine the glory and the riches that sports players and fighters receive for doing activities that a (relatively) select group of people are capable of doing.

In combat sports, since the Roaring ’20s era of Boxing, there has been the desire of fighters to get the $1,000,000 purse in order to say that they are millionaires in their profession of pounding others into submission and to exemplify that as champions (or top challengers) that they really are as successful out of the ring as they are in it. Naturally, of course, the big question that arises out of seeing the fighters’ salaries (such as UFN 8’s fighter salaries) is: how can a pathetically small $3,000 purse for a brutal KO loss in a main event (for Sean Salmon) or a $6,000 purse for a heavily hyped fighter (Heath Herring) be justified in the world of MMA, especially given the massive buyrates and gates that UFC itself has been drawing in the last year or so?

There are a number of non cash factors that often play into the thinking of fighters with regards to accepted less money in order to get onto the big stage. Tommy Gibbons fighting Jack Dempsey is one such extreme example where a fighter was even willing not to get paid at all in order to fight for the Heavyweight championship (and the glory that came with it).

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