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Boetsch got paid

When the UFC decided to slide their best friend Chris Lytle another undeserved bonus for KO of the Night, they basically screwed Tim Boetsch, who knocked his opponent out with a vicious display of redneck judo. There’s a silver lining in this cloud though, as Boetsch said he did receive some extra greenbacks for his assault:

Boetsch said his fight was considered for both the KO of the Night, as well as Fight of the Night honors, either of which would have brought him and additional $60,000 in pay.

“That would have definitely been the icing on the cake, for sure, but I was just glad to get in there, handle my business and come out of there with the win,” Boetsch said.

Boetsch, though, did indicate he got additional pay on top of his normal salary, confirming the UFC “takes care of you if you put on an exciting fight.”

I just don’t get the UFC. They don’t like talking about money, yet they’re forced by the Athletic Commissions to reveal salary details. So they release pittance pay to the government which makes us fans think they’re fucking assholes screwing over the fighters. How does this seem like a good idea???

All this backroom wheeling and dealing just makes everyone much more suspicious that there’s a screwjob going down. A lot of other sites have called for more transparency in the UFC’s dealings and I don’t disagree. This hush-hush shit simply causes more problems than it solves. If the UFC is treating it’s fighters fairly in pay, they should be willing to put the numbers out there. The current situation just creates mistrust towards the organization with the fans AND the fighters.

Of course since the UFC is probably using secret pay to create a smokescreen where they hold all the cards in salary negotiations, I don’t see changes happening any time soon. But don’t worry. Everyone’s ‘being taken care of.’

  • Xavier

    “How does this seem like a good idea???”

    More whining. It’s a good idea because it keeps fighters from getting jealous over other fighters pay. See Couture after he learned of the offer to Fedor.

    Bonuses being on the down-low leave petty pay jealousies out of the game. There’s no reason for them to be transparent, it would only cause the UFC to pull back bonuses as they would then become an entitlement in fighters minds rather than what they are: A bonus.

    Plus, “you fans” are hardcore MMA fans who don’t matter anyways. 90+% of casual fans don’t give a shit about how much pay a fighter receives.

  • fightlinker

    Tell that to the LA Times and Sports Illustrated, who have also written on the pay issues with the UFC.

    Oh, and how exactly does the current system prevent shit from hitting the fan? Your examples prove the current system does nothing but create paranoia and distrust amongst fighters.

  • fightfan

    We all have worked “under the table” jobs before, right? Well I havent. A percentage of every dollar I have made went to the US goverment. But, anyhow i do hear that this “under the table” kind of work frequently occurs. Guys making $10/hr for 40 hours a week, take home $400 in cash instead of paying $100 or about 25% towards taxes.

    Anyways, that I see Dana and the UFC operating. They dont want the goverment, the public, ANYONE to know their business. So Dana just goes around with a safe full of cash to every event. And EVERY fighter gets a little “under the table” , non taxable cash. Therefore their fighter dont think they are completely cheap assholes and they get some extra chedda they dont have to share with Uncle sam

  • fightlinker

    I’m sure all the money is taxed, otherwise the Fertittas would be FUCKED. It’s just off the books as far as releasing it to the public

  • ilostmydog

    Why is more transparency needed? Why do we even care what fighters are making in the first place? I couldn’t give a shit what fighters are making. The only ‘problems’ fighter pay is causing are made up in the minds of certain writers who seem fixated on the topic.

  • fightfan


    Yeah I know that the $60,000 bonus for sure are taxed and reported by fighters in their taxes…..

    But I am talking about the other “bonuses” that Boetsch got and from what he says other fighters get that put on a good show. There is a reason why we never hear these amounts. Do you think that, lets use Boetsch fro example, that he will report this extra that Dana threw at him??? Yeah he will report the given, the public figure that the commission releases, but I cant see him reporting what he got for the beating he put on Heath

  • fightfan

    ^ I cant see him reporting the extra chedda he got for the beating he put on Boetsch

  • steve24

    Personally, I don’t think the athletic commision should make it public how much a fighter gets paid. It’s nobodys business. It’s just people being nosy. Every job I’ve ever worked at, if you discussed your salary, you got fired.

  • Captain

    I’m no accountant but I would think Zuffa would want to account for the money that goes towards the locker room bonuses in their tax returns. My reasoning being that the more money they show they are putting towards “payroll” the more it would decrease Zuffa’s overall tax liability. Consequently, if Zuffa’s reporting the locker room bonuses, the fighters receiving those bonuses best be reporting them on their tax returns also.

  • fightfan

    POST 9

    That is why I am curious. The UFC would want to “show” more payroll, just for tax reasons. That is why I dont understand why bonuses like the one Boetsch said he receieved is not public

  • Captain

    Couldn’t they disclose the locker room bonuses in their tax returns but not disclose them to the athletic commissions? Like I said, I am no accountant but I would think there is a way to do that (even if they have to characterize the locker room bonuses as end of the year performance bonuses or something like that for purposes of the tax returns).

  • Xavier

    “Couldn’t they disclose the locker room bonuses in their tax returns but not disclose them to the athletic commissions? Like I said, I am no accountant but I would think there is a way to do that”

    Yeah, it’s what they can and do end up doing.

    As most people on the comments say: “Who cares?” I wish the commissions didn’t make fighter pay public too. It’s a ridiculous topic that is over-fixated by meandering bloggers who want to show how much “cred” they have with their little heroes by arguing for them to make more money. They think this will make them friends with mixed martial artists. It’s pathetic.

  • cingred

    Goddamn – here we go again. I like reading this shit, because it truly reveals the level of ignorance of some MMA fanboys.

    Most companies do not want you discuss compensation with fellow employees. Nor do they want you to discuss it with people that might blow the wistle. Pay-for-performance is becoming more of the norm in all kinds of contemporary companies.

    But most people would know that if they did some research. Worry about something else. Fuck.

    By the way – any editorial written is an OPINION. Who gives a shit what the LA times or SI thinks. Obviously Dana White doesn’t.

  • danaunclefesterwhite

    I agree. For the UFC to reach the mainstream, they will eventually have to disclose fighter pay just as all the major sports leagues disclose player salaries. Zuffa pays out their fighters like mafia. If Zuffa feels like it, they’ll throw you a nice bone on the side. If they don’t feel like you, you get stuck with shitty pay. There’s absolutely no economic stability for fighters. They don’t know if they’ll get paid shit one day or get a nice bonus the next. With the secrecy behind fighter pay, they operate a lot like WWE rather than a mainstream league.

    Good to see that Boetsch got more than the disclosed $12,000. Monte Cox rates this guy well and I think it’s fair to say that Monte has a good eye for talent.

  • Atom

    Xavier writes:
    “It’s a ridiculous topic that is over-fixated by meandering bloggers who want to show how much “cred” they have with their little heroes by arguing for them to make more money.”

    Wrong again Xavier. I thought this was obvious, but I’ll lay it out anyway. Bloggers aren’t arguing for higher fighter pay because they want their trying to impress their heroes. Fans like exciting fights from well matched and highly skilled fighters. If someone is blogging about mma, chances are they’re a pretty big fan to begin with. If fighters are being paid shit, it means they have to take other jobs to put food on the table. Check the pay rates from the last bodog show. Every non-main event fighter made 2,000 or less. The UFC is still paying some guys 3,000, and they’re supposed to be the big leagues. If fighters have to take 2nd and 3rd jobs to get by, it takes away from training time, WHICH ALREADY COSTS $$ TO BEGIN WITH! For example, Joe Stevenson said he spent 10,000 just to train for his fight with BJ PENN! By arguing for the cause of higher fighter pay, one is also arguing for better trained fighters –> MORE EXCITING FIGHTS.

    So professor X, you probably agree with the bloggers too, even if you don’t realize it yet.

  • fightlinker

    1) Most fans wouldn’t give a shit about 90% of what’s written on this site … we’re a niche market dedicated to the odds and ends of fighting. So who cares? I care. So I write about it. That’s how it works around here ;-)

    2) YES i TOTALLY admit that i’m SUCKING UP to fighters with this blog because I want to be their friends. I’m SO NICE to everyone on here. This blog has made me good friends with MANY fighters. /sarcasm

    3) I agree with danaunclefesterwhite … a pay structure based on discretionary bonuses is no way to make a living. It’s like having no proper salary and being paid whatever your boss feels like giving you at any given time.

    4) The point about training is a good one. Lots of fighters aren’t able to show their full potential because they’re too busy working to support their family or they can’t afford to go train with the best. I’m not talking about paying fighters huge retardo amounts of money. But they deserve to be making enough to live off of. It’s pathetic that the people in the audience are often making more money per year than the fighters in the UFC.

  • danaunclefesterwhite

    Discretionary bonuses need to be done away with completely. They should just increase the purses and add transparency to the structure.

    And I agree with Fightlinker on fighter pay. It needs to go up for the guys who aren’t making all that much so that they can afford to train full-time and make the most of their potential. I think $15,000 would be a good minimum. If a fighter gets $45,000 a year, that would be a lot more decent than what a lot of these UFC guys are getting paid (note that 20% goes to his agent, he has to cover training costs and all the other stuff they have to pay for so don’t go on comparing 45 Gs in the fight game to an office job.) It’s pretty trashy when the audience at UFC events make more than the fighters. It gives the UFC a trashy, court jester spectacle type of feel rather than the legitimacy of a professional sports event where the athletes are given prestige like you see in the major leagues.

  • Dangerfield

    I’m being taken care of.

    But seriously the UFC is the best place for fighters to be for money. If you want job security be an engineer not a guy who fights other guys in a cage for money.

  • Michaelthebox

    The main thing I don’t understand about people complaining about fighter pay is the fact that two and a half years ago, the UFC was an underground sport that was $44 million in debt. Payscales have skyrocketed in that time frame, and they’re still increasing. Why so much bitching? They’ll reach an appropriate level over the next few years.

    As for the discretionary bonuses, the UFC uses them to encourage their exciting fighters, and in turn, punish fighters who aren’t exciting. I’d love the UFC to have standardized and transparent pay scales, I’d also love them to have no competition. As long as the likes of EliteXC are out there putting on exciting shows without giving a shit about anything beyond marketability(Gina Carano, Kimbo), the UFC still needs an extra tool to shape what their fighters do.

  • Ross

    The UFC also has to be careful not to overpay fighters in case MMA turns out to be a short-term fad. If they get stuck paying out million-dollar contracts while they’re recording shitty PPV buyrates they’ll be in big trouble. We’ver already seen that the 2007 PPV buys were down on 2006, although some of that was admittedly down to bad fortune.

  • Wu Tang

    Redneck Judo Chop!

  • danaunclefesterwhite

    Mikeinthebox, the minimum purse hasn’t increased all that much from it’s pre-TUF years. You want to be a fucking fighter in 2004? $2,000 per fight, $2,000 extra for a win. You want to be a fucking fighter in 2008? $3,000 per fight, $3,000 extra for a win. Here’s proof of that: Joe Veres’ first fight was September 2007 so the “old contract” excuse doesn’t apply here unless he signed the deal at a much earlier date. Some will say, “hey a 50% raise” like the UFC is majorly generous but in reality, that’s only an extra $1,000 per fight and an extra $1,000 per win. That’s still chump change.

    In fact what’s even more insulting is that Leonard Garcia was on $2,000 to fight, $2,000 to win for UFC 69 and TUF 5 Finale because he was on an old UFC contract. So it wasn’t until TUF 5 Finale (June 2007 folks) that the UFC stopped paying guys only $2,000. For shame. The overall payscale has went up obviously since the pre-TUF days but the guys on the lower-end of the scale, the ones making less than five figures a fight, are still getting shafted.

  • danaunclefesterwhite

    Though yeah, if the UFC does turn out to be a short-term fad, the shit would hit the wall. I concede that. It comes down to who are the guys who order the UFC PPVs since PPV makes about half their revenue or more. What percentage of the PPV buying demographic is hardcore? casual? only there to see Liddell or Lesnar? etc. The hardcores will stick around for the ride. The others might not if they find something else that interests them. Didn’t TV poker experience a boom and then a bust recently? The UFC could just turn out to be like that fad.

    Baseball, football, basketball and yes BOXING are always going to have a market in America. Hockey is always going to be big in Canada and the cold parts of America. Soccer is always going to be big internationally except it’s not in North America. But will MMA have a place? A lot of UFC fans I’ve spoken to don’t appear to be the committed type. A lot of them complain when the fights hit the ground. The UFC demographic might be shaky. The UFC boom happened at the WWE’s expense after all.

  • cyphron

    It seems that MMA fans don’t understand how business works. They are comparing a 200 million company that is owes 350 million in debt to established sports with revenues in the billions of dollars. Here is a reprint from something I wrote on FightOpinion.

    If you raise the minimum wage to 10 dollars an hour then no one can work for less than $10. The people who are just starting out, wanting to make a name for themselves will not get a job because they are not worth $10 an hour, but only 5-8. Most people who can do a perfectly capable job as someone being paid $15 an hour will never get the chance to prove themselves. Furthermore, in order to pay for the salary, the stores must raise all their prices which will cause massive inflation.

    Now, compare that with the UFC. Most fighters chomp at the bits to take the minimum contract just so they can prove themselves. They know that at the current time, nobody gives a damn about the under card fighters. People don’t buy tickets and watch PPV for the under card fighters. The main card is what sells therefore that is why they demand the higher pay money.

    Now, if the minimum contract is 20k, then Zuffa will take a very close look at who they sign. No more Frank Edgar, no more Houston Alexander, and no more Tim Boetsch who comes out of nowhere. The up and comers will never get a chance to prove themselves. Furthermore, they don’t even get the 3 fight contracts. They just get the 1 fight contract and if they lose, goodbye forever! They never get a second chance!

    Why pay 20k for a nobody when you can pay 20k for a fighter who’s been around and the fans know about them. You will end up with a promotion that keeps pitting the same fighters over and over again. You may never see a Houston Alexander come out of no where.

  • fightlinker

    cyphron, the UFC is only in debt 350 million, they borrowed 350 million. The UFC got back into the black a few years back and has been making healthy cash since. I’m not talking about busting the bank here. I’m talking about paying fighters a living wage based on 3 fights a year. Saying the UFC doesn’t have the money to increase the bottom line a bit when it’s throwing around 60k bonuses is silly. When you can take half the fighters on the card and they’re making less than the amount the UFC is paying in bonuses, that’s weak.

  • cingred

    Linker, you are too much. Please stop.

    People on the upper crust of the UFC are making plenty of money. Not boxing money, but plenty of money. Besides, with all the stupid skull shirt companies out there making MMA fanboy gear, there are plenty of sponsors to be had.

    The salary is not the only monies to be made from fighting.

  • cyphron

    You do realize that make a profit is not the same thing as being in debt right? The UFC still has a debt of 350 mill. They are making a profit of 40 mil. There is a difference.

    Even though the UFC makes a profit, the profit alone does not allow them to operate and expand like they are doing now. For that, they need to borrow 350 million to finance the operations. The profits they make will be used for their operations and for paying back their debt.

    But that is a moot point. In business, you pay what a guy is worth. If a fighter brings in 100k PPV buys, he is worth 250k + 200k. If a fighter, no matter how good he is, brings in only 100k PPV buys, then he’s worth considerably less, even if he’s Tim Sylvia. Unknown fighters who don’t bring any eyeballs deserve 6k. The pays has increased from what, 2k to 6k. MMA is still not big business. When business revenues reach in the tens of billions, the UFC is still a small fish in a big pond.

    Tim Boetsch will definitely make more money now that the fans demand to see him. Ultimately, the fans will be the ones who determine who gets paid well. I still don’t understand why fans are so schitzo, on one hand declares: “I ain’t paying that much on this sucky PPV with these crappy ass fighters!” would then turn around and say: “Why aren’t the UFC paying more for these crappy fighters!?” That’s because you guys didn’t want to watch them in the first place!

  • cyphron

    I meant to say:

    If a fighter brings in 200k PPV buys, he is worth 250k + 200k. If a fighter, no matter how good he is, brings in only 100k PPV buys, then he’s worth considerably less, even if he’s Tim Sylvia.

  • fightlinker

    Point is the UFC isn’t down 350 million bucks. They took a loan so they wouldn’t have to put their own money into the operation. The UFC has been in the black for a few years now. And I agree – top guys are making decent money. I’m not down with guys bitching about 100k per fight.

    But the point is, if you’re gonna bring someone into the UFC, they should be paid as such that they can train full time. If you’re not doing that, how many GSPs are you gonna lose because they simply can’t afford to fight?

    I’m not fighting for the upper or mid card fighters. I’m talking about the base pay guys getting RAPED

  • cingred

    Dude, if you took out a loan, you still OWE that much. What isn’t clear about that point? Granted, they still might be making money, but they are putting it back into their brand to expand it……

    I could argue with you all day about the base pay. But you just can’t pay a fighter that isn’t established in your league (not MMA as a whole) on a pay scale that is 10x as much as they have been making. The pay for entry level fighters is about even when talking about all orgs. Pro fighters should be able to make a living. But not all pros in all pro sports DO earn enough to make a living. Sorry, but that is true. I work in the motorcycle industry and pro national level motocross riders barely make 500 dollars a race for finishing in the top 25. True story. I think that comparing UFC to the big four sports is a little far-fetched right now. Give it some time.

  • danaunclefesterwhite

    Isn’t every big company in debt these days? Debt itself isn’t a problem. It’s how capable one is in their ability to pay off their debt. If you get a mortgage and you have good income, you don’t have to live off mac n cheese just because you’re in debt.

    Also Fightlinker brings up a great point about the huge bonuses. Zuffa is paying out 100 Gs each event more in bonuses than they did before since they went up from 35 Gs to 60 Gs. If you took that extra 100 Gs, you could easily make sure that everyone on the roster makes at least $15,000 or something. We’re supposed to believe that Zuffa can’t at least allow guys to make enough to train full-time when they just increased the bonus fund by 100 Gs an event? I’d rather see a $15,000 minimum and $35,000 bonuses rather than a $3,000 minimum and $60,000 bonuses. The cost to Zuffa’s wallet is the same.

  • fightlinker

    There we go! danaunclefesterwhite, i need you writing these posts instead of me because you seem to be better at it than me.

  • cyphron

    Wow… unbelievable. If everyone gets 15k and there are no bonuses, why would any fighter try their best to put on an exciting fight. It’s called positive reinforcement. If FL and the rest of you run the UFC, I would expect it to die a slow death after a few years. All fighters would play it safe so they can lose gracefully and keep their 15k a year contract.

    Did you guys even read my first post? If everyone gets 15k, then the fighters who want to fight for 6k but are not established will never get the chance. You will never find the diamond in the rough. Never mind, you guys just don’t understand business. Let’s just leave it at that. Keep on griping about pay. It’s the favorite past time of MMA fans, anyway.

  • cyphron

    15k a fight contract. Yeah, I don’t proof read my posts.

  • fightlinker

    I don’t agree with that ‘keep them hungry’ thing. I think you’ll find that poor fighters will work harder for the safe win than go all out for the chance of a bonus. If they can actually i dunno PAY RENT regardless of if they win or not, then that’s what will give them the freedom to be more aggressive or spend a bit more of their money hitting up training camps elsewhere to hone their skills

  • cingred

    Yeah – having debt and being in debt. Different. Who the fuck buys everything with cash? Not million-dollar companies. You have to incur some debt to run a business.

    I don’t know for sure, but I think that Zuffa pays BONUSES TO ENCOURAGE PERFORMANCE. I want to see dudes get down. Show what they got. If I wanted a decision, I would watch Friday Night Fights. That way, I could be bored.

  • cyphron

    Tell that to Chris Lytle. The guy stated before the fight that he’s going all out so he can get the fight of the night or KO of the night bonus…and he delivered. And the UFC delivered.

    Lots of fighters in their interviews are stating that they’re putting it all on the line to make the fights exciting and earn that extra cheddar. Can you honestly tell me that the UFCs of today are not more exciting than the UFC of two years ago?

  • fightlinker

    Actually, i’d say they’re pretty much the same.

    Basically you’d need to do a freaking study to figure out what makes fighters tick: higher guaranteed pay, higher win bonus, or higher performance bonus. To me, I think the UFC should keep the fighters who fight, ditch the fighters that dont, and pay everyone in their organization a living wage. Again, I’m not talking about anything crazy here. But if you’re against the lowest rung fighters getting more, you’re basically saying “Starve them like dogs so they’re more vicious”, which to me is wrong. I’m not down with that.

  • danaunclefesterwhite

    Yeah I don’t think the current incentive system really works. Most fighters are going to fight conservatively just so that they can actually get a safe boring lay n pray win and get their win bonus. If you get a win bonus, your pay is doubled so you bet they are going to do everything to win. If anything, if you gave a guy 15k whether he wins or loses, the guy is going to go out like he has nothing to lose and fight to impress rather than take the safe route and fight to win via jab n clinch up the fence point-sparring or lay n pray for decision. I’d rather $15k minimum, $35k bonuses rather than $3k minimum, $60k bonuses. Guys are still going to be gunning for the $35k bonus. Also I haven’t noticed any increased excitement in the UFC as a result of these bonuses and I think the win bonus plays a part of that.

    If you’re lucky, you could make $84,000 in a single fight like Chris Lytle ($12k to fight, $12k to win, $60k KO of the night). But what happens if, in the process of being balls-out exciting rather than trying to play it safe to get that $24k (incl. $12k win bonus), you get KTFO? Then Chris gets only $12k. That’s why the bonus system doesn’t work.

    I’m thinking that instead of having a win bonus, the UFC should have stoppage bonuses instead (KO/TKO/Sub/TSub) and increase base pay to compensate for the loss of a win bonus. That’s exactly what I’d do. $15,000 purse minimum, $35,000 KO/Sub/Fight of the Night bonuses (to replace $3,000 minimum, $60,000 bonuses. That won’t cost anything extra), get rid of the win bonus, add a stoppage bonus and increase base pay to compensate for getting rid of the win bonus (since there are more wins than stoppages). Then you’ll start to see more exciting fights.

  • cingred

    Unclefester = funny. Eliminate the win bonus for, well a win (stoppage) bonus? Wow. The more you let someone talk, the more you open the door to the foot in the mouth.

  • cingred

    Lets see, I don’t make shit, so I will just hope I can get a win so I can get my paycheck that won’t mean balls anyway if I get it. But if I work harder (read:fight) I could get rewarded handsomely and really start to make some money. Hell, even if I don’t get KO of the night, but show that I wanna be here, UFC will give me a little bit more on top for being a hard worker (read:Boetsch).

    Yeah, incentives don’t work at all. Psssshhhhhhht…..

  • danaunclefesterwhite

    Well yeah a stoppage bonus is a type of win bonus. But at least this way you’d have guys going for a stoppage win rather than trying to play it safe. Which would make fights more exciting. The current win bonus system is discouraging fighters from being exciting because you can always point-spar to get the win bonus the safe, conservative way.