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The Ultimate Fighter 5 Finale Official Salaries has received the salaries from Saturday’s The Ultimate Fighter 5 Finale from the NSAC. Keep in mind these numbers only reflect the numbers reported by the UFC to the sanctioning body, in this case the Nevada State Athletic Commission. They do not include bonuses fighters may receive from the UFC or money fighters receive from sponsors while fight bonuses, which typically double their base salary, are included.

Here is a full breakdown of the salaries:

  • BJ Penn ($100,000) def. Jens Pulver ($30,000)
  • Nate Diaz ($16,000) def. Manny Gamburyan ($8,000)
  • Thales Leites ($14,000) def. Floyd Sword ($3,000)
  • Roger Huerta ($24,000) def. Doug Evans ($3,000)
  • Joe Lauzon ($16,400)  def. Brandon Melendez ($7,200)
  • Cole Miller ($16,000) def. Andy Wang ($8,000)
  • Gray Maynard ($8,000) vs. Rob Emerson ($8,000)
  • Leonard Garcia ($4,000) def. Allen Berube ($8,000)
  • Matt Wiman ($16,000) def. Brian Geraghty ($8,000)

And now for my commentary on the figures…First and foremost I would like to hear the UFC’s justification in paying all of the TUF 5 competitors $8,000 just to show (I am sure it was part of their contract) while Sword, Evans, and Garcia all made substantially less. Factoring in the win bonus Garcia was the lowest paid fighter on the card earning just $2,000 to show while Sword and Evans earned $3,000. There is no way any fighter should be paid these meager amounts to fight in the premiere MMA organization while people who have few professional fights are making nearly double their base salaries.

I think the UFC needs to reform their pay structure quickly or they may lose top talent to other organizations who aren’t afraid to give out big money. Sure, the competition may not be there and deep down all fighters want to fight top competition but there is no way the salaries for this event were distributed evenly. While I am okay with the $8,000 base salary I think the UFC needs to establish a starting salary and stick to it. The contract wrangling has some fighters making signifigantly more than their talent would suggest they make while other fighters are making very little yet are or will be legitimate contenders very quickly.

This event has yet again highlighted the issue of what proper payment is in MMA and should set a fire under MMA organizations to pay their fighters appropriately for effectively putting their lives on the line every time they step into the ring or cage for our enjoyment.

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