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With fighter pay in spotlight, UFC vets shed light on life in octagon's middle-class

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grappler0000

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For three of the UFC's rank and file, the bottom line rarely ends at "show" and "win."

Sponsorships, performance bonuses, and discretionary bonuses help to line the pockets of George Roop, Jacob Volkmann and Nam Phan.

They are not millionaires. But despite a wide disparity in pay with their headliner counterparts, figures disclosed by the fighters painted an upper-middle-class living.

Pay-per-view dollars are, for now, a faraway dream that Roop, Volkmann and Phan hope to realize. They have won and lost and are no strangers to the preliminary card. They draw hardcore interest but are known by a casual few.

Featherweight Roop, a veteran of "The Ultimate Fighter 8," has fought nine times in the now-defunct WEC and UFC and carries a record of 3-5-1 under the Zuffa-owned promotions. Lightweight Volkmann signed with the promotion in 2009 and has fought seven times in the UFC, where he's amassed a 5-2 record including five consecutive wins inside the octagon. Phan, a veteran of "The Ultimate Fighter 12," has fought four times in the UFC as a featherweight and carries a 1-3 record.

Thirty-nine millionaires have been created by the promotion, according to UFC executive Lorenzo Fertitta, who defended his company's pay structure in a controversial segment aired on Sunday for ESPN's "Outside the Lines." Responding to charges that top stars are compensated handsomely while lower-tier fighters risk life and limb for as low as $6,000 a fight, he said the company shares around 50 percent of its revenue with athletes under contract.

Roop, Volkmann and Phan's guaranteed pay leans toward the lower end of what fighters make in the promotion.

But they're not struggling...

Full Story

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Post #1   1/17/12 10:12:06PM   

DrivenDavies15

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Really interesting read. I didn't think these guys got paid as much as they did, it's nice to see it all broken-down like that

Post #2   1/17/12 11:16:59PM   

FastKnockout

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Not to mention those rare moments when a freak accident occurs inside or outside the octagon and UFC officials still pay the bonus to fighters.

Ex.1 - Erick Silva's DQ loss. UFC still paid his contracted amount and included his win bonus.

Ex. 2 - Whenever a fighter isn't able to fight a day or so before the event is to be held and the fight has to be pulled. UFC will sometimes still pay each fighter their contracted amount without stepping in the octagon.

Post #3   1/17/12 11:28:36PM   

GSPCanada

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This was an interesting and fair read. Once again fighters seem pretty secretive about their pay (as most people are) I'm surprised a guy like volkman is making less money than roop

Post #4   1/17/12 11:48:11PM   

KungFuMaster

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I'm not discrediting this article but I feel silly right about now and I would love for Phil Baroni to chime in on this debate.

New York Bad Ass

Post #5   1/17/12 11:54:58PM   

grappler0000

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Posted by KungFuMaster

I'm not discrediting this article but I feel silly right about now and I would love for Phil Baroni to chime in on this debate.

New York Bad Ass



1. Old Video

2. Phil's fortunate enough to be friends with Dana or he wouldn't have even gotten a second chance in the UFC.

3. The article is about the UFC...Phil has only had 2 fights with them in the last 7 years. When he originally left the UFC, they had yet to turn a profit. His 2 fights since then, which were a gift, resulted in 2 losses.

When you train with Hammer House, which consisted of a heavy bag in Mark Coleman's backyard, your financial future doesn't always flourish.

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Post #6   1/18/12 12:27:45AM   

ChokeUout

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very interesting read.

Add that to Sean McCorkle's story, it paints the UFC in a different light.

Also, I came across a link Kpro posted not to long ago that listed what all the fighters made in base pay, win bonuses, and fight night bonuses.



Here;s the Link

Those don't look as bad as many thought they were. But THEN, add in Sponser payments, Discretionary bonuses (which it seems the majority of fighters recieve, and it often multiplies their base pay by a bunch), and any other payments and it looks like more than half of the fighters probably made over 100,000 last year or close to it.

It's not NFL money, but it's enough to make ESPN, and in particular Jon Barr and Josh Gross feel like a couple of idiots.

Post #7   1/18/12 1:05:37AM   

BuffaloDave

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To be honest I'm surprised guys like Roop are making that much from the sponsorships, but good for them. I good only imagine what the top tier fighters are pulling in.


Such good insight, outside the crap from ESPN.

Post #8   1/18/12 9:15:53AM   

Dberntson

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In addition, from what I heard from a UFC fighter, the UFC basis pay on a seniority/ten year system. Initially the fighters make around the $6,000 to show for their first contract for a number of fights. Each time they sign a new contract they get a pay raise. For example, first contract will be for $6,000/fight for three to five fights. Then the pay jumps significantly to around $16,000/fight to show for the next contract. I was told the first real bump is after your first 5 fights. This would explain why Roop makes more than Volkmann, as he has more WEC/UFC fights and would be farther down the line in the number of contracts signed.

Post #9   1/18/12 10:10:13AM   

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another great read from the junkie, but this is something that is a head scratcher:

"Volkmann estimates he spends $250 a week on gas getting to and from his gym, Minnesota Mixed Martial Arts Academy."

what the hell does he drive and why does he live so far away from the gym? i travel close to 60 km each way to and from work everyday (about 40 min drive, ~37 miles) and pay $70-$75 a week in gas (i drive a 2003 Infinity I35)...and gas prices here are more expensive than it is below the boarder. Volkmann is paying over $10,000 a year in gas!!

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Post #10   1/18/12 2:53:41PM   

grappler0000

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Posted by Bubbles

another great read from the junkie, but this is something that is a head scratcher:

"Volkmann estimates he spends $250 a week on gas getting to and from his gym, Minnesota Mixed Martial Arts Academy."

what the hell does he drive and why does he live so far away from the gym? i travel close to 60 km each way to and from work everyday (about 40 min drive, ~37 miles) and pay $70-$75 a week in gas (i drive a 2003 Infinity I35)...and gas prices here are more expensive than it is below the boarder. Volkmann is paying over $10,000 a year in gas!!



If I were to guess, I'd say it's probably supposed to be $250 per month.

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Post #11   1/18/12 2:58:34PM   

Kpro

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To drive from his chiropractic clinic to the school he teaches at and then to his gym is 22.8 miles. He must live pretty damn far from all of them.

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Post #12   1/18/12 3:05:44PM