Chris Leben is MMA’s Highest Paid Middleweight Following UFC 116

Written by Tom Ngo
July 6th, 2010

UFC Middleweight Chris Leben

Controversial middleweight Chris Leben came out of left field to emerge as MMA’s highest paid middleweight. Although his impressive two-week run isn’t anything he’ll repeat given its magnitude, it has set him up for bigger paydays when it’s time to re-up.

Following Leben’s thrilling 3rdRound submission of Yoshihiro Akiyama at UFC 116, he took home his second consecutive Fight Night bonus. Although, Saturday’s commission was three times phatter than the $25K he earned for knocking out Aaron Simpson at “The Ultimate Fighter 11 Finale” just 14 days prior.

That evening, “The Crippler” earned $35,000 to show and doubled that amount by winning. Including his Knockout of the Night award, Leben left the Palms Casino Resort in Las Vegas with a cool $95,000.

Fast forward to UFC 116 where the southpaw agreed to step in as a last-minute replacement for the injured Wanderlei Silva. Leben scored $43,000 for merely walking into the Octagon, then parlayed that into another $43K for having his hand raised after their instant classic was completed.

The Cha-Ching Train didn’t stop there for the slugger, as Leben was awarded another $75,000 for winning Fight of the Night en route to quietly bumping his record to an impressive 21-6. Sixteen of those bouts were for the UFC.

In two week’s time, Leben has made a “total” of $256,000. Please keep in mind, the figures above are what’s required to be reported to the Athletic Commissions. Any additional bonuses, such as a special kickback Octagon brass may have slipped him for his quick turnaround in order to co-headline the biggest pay-per-view broadcast of 2010, are not required to be disclosed.

As customary, the popular slugger’s sponsorship dollars were also not disclosed.

It ain’t “Primetime” money, but hey …

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