The UFC is notorious for keeping its financial information under lock and key. To date, the largest single disclosed fight night show purse was the $600,000 Anderson Silva made in July for facing off against Chris Weidman. However, that number is far from Silva’s final payday. As a long-reigning champion, he participates in pay-per-view bonus points which easily take his payday into seven figures.
But just how big has a UFC fighter payday gotten? We didn’t know until a Thursday Google Hangout with Dana White on FOX Sports revealed the answer, with a little help from Lorenzo Fertitta.
According to the UFC bosses, the biggest single fight payday in UFC history was $5 million. The duo declined to name the fighter who earned that check, though the most obvious candidates would include Silva, Georges St-Pierre and Brock Lesnar, three of the biggest gate draws in company history.
White was asked about the payday on the eve of Floyd Mayweather’s record-shattering $41.5 million haul for his Saturday night fight with Saul “Canelo” Alvarez. The cash cow fight is expected to challenge the all-time record for pay-per-view buys, which is held by the Mayweather vs. Oscar De La Hoya bout in 2007. That event sold 2.4 million buys.
“We’ve never done 2 million pay-per-views either,” White said. “We do 2 million pay-per-views and a $20 million gate, that number is going to go way up.”
The $5 million figure that a UFC fighter has taken home is the same number Alvarez is guaranteed to make on Saturday, although his pay is likely to increase as the pay-per-view sales go up. The huge figures thrown around during the Mayweather-Alvarez week will no doubt bring some scrutiny to UFC from critics who contend fighter pay is too low, but White said it was worth considering a different perspective.
“Think about this: We paid a guy $5 million for a fight before, and we didn’t start making money until 2007,” he said. “That was six years ago. So boxing’s been around for 100 years. They’ve been doing big events since way back when. Pretty amazing in what we have done. I think a lot of people don’t really look at it in that way and break it down for what is really is. Pretty amazing.”