Dana White: The UFC Has More Millionaires Than You Think

Written by Tom Ngo
November 7th, 2011

UFC President Dana White

With Nick Diaz claiming he will return to living in the slums of Stockton, California despite pocketing $275,000 for his victory over BJ Penn, and boxing great Manny Pacquiao set to score at least $25 million this weekend for his fight against Juan Manuel Marquez, UFC president Dana White (Pictured) was once again probed about the imbalance of paychecks between the two combat sports.

“Nick Diaz has made a lot of money this year,” White flatly stated over the weekend. “Believe me when I tell you, Nick Diaz can buy a house – whatever kind of house he wants to buy.”

At the same time, White admitted there are only a handful of fighters that can actually command a superstar’s salary. However, that rule isn’t much different than in any other business, including professional sports, and especially in boxing.

“There are guys that make lots of money, there’s guys that make good money and there’s guys coming up in the ranks,” White expressed. “Believe me, nobody wants to be paying guys ‘boxing kind of money’ more than I do.

“Realize this, the UFC just started making money in 2006. From 2001 to 2006, we were almost $50 million in the hole. And over that time, not one fighter ever got paid late, check bounced – no employees at Zuffa, ever. The Fertitta brothers funded this thing for that long.

“[In] 2006 we started turning a profit. From 2006 to 2011, I can’t remember what the number is, but it’s like 40-something millionaires, 20-something multi, multimillionaires.”

Before you start going through your Rolodex of past and present Octagon fighters that may have scored seven-figure paydays, White would like to remind his detractors that MMA is still in its infancy stages.

“The money is only getting better,” White added. “So it’s easy to sit here and say, ‘When are guys going to make boxing money?’ What is boxing money, $25 million?

“That’s what Floyd [Mayweather] and Pacquiao make. Who else makes $25 million? If you look throughout the entire sport of boxing, most of the guys don’t make anything. Most of the guys don’t make what [our] guys here made in [Fight Night] bonuses. And we’ve done it in like, five years, four years.”

Danny Downes commanded a $5,000 salary for his loss at UFC 137, while Diaz was the event’s highest earner with $200,000. Diaz also pocketed a $75,000 commission for his part in ‘Fight of the Night.’

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