Paulo Costa Says Dana White Promised Him UFC Middleweight Title Shot

Paulo Costa claims he is next in line for a shot at the winner of Robert Whittaker vs. Israel Adesanya. On Oct. 5, UFC middleweight champion Whittaker will go one-on-one with interim title holder Adesanya. The bout will headline UFC 243 inside Marvel S…

Paulo Costa claims he is next in line for a shot at the winner of Robert Whittaker vs. Israel Adesanya. On Oct. 5, UFC middleweight champion Whittaker will go one-on-one with interim title holder Adesanya. The bout will headline UFC 243 inside Marvel Stadium in Melbourne, Australia. While many believe that Costa is a shoe-in […]

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Cain Velasquez Tears House Down At AAA Pro Wrestling Show In NYC (Highlights)

Cain Velasquez isn’t done competing in mixed martial arts (MMA), and he’s just getting started on a professional wrestling career. Velasquez has embraced the Lucha Libre culture over the past several months, making his professional wrestling debut with the AAA promotion. He participated in last night’s (Sun. September 15, 2019) AAA and IMPACT Wrestling’s “Invading […]

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Cain Velasquez isn’t done competing in mixed martial arts (MMA), and he’s just getting started on a professional wrestling career.

Velasquez has embraced the Lucha Libre culture over the past several months, making his professional wrestling debut with the AAA promotion. He participated in last night’s (Sun. September 15, 2019) AAA and IMPACT Wrestling’s “Invading NY” event in a Six-Man Tag Team match. There, Velasquez continued to impress with his skills inside the squared circle.

Check out some of his highlights below.

In regards to his fighting career, Velasquez hasn’t competed since suffering a first-round knockout loss to Francis Ngannou in Arizona earlier this year. While there was a lot of controversy as to whether or not Velasquez was actually knocked out, given he suffered a knee injury in the fight, he later admitted he was out on his feet after a Ngannou uppercut connected.

Now, Velasquez plans on juggling an MMA and pro wrestling career. He even teased he could join the ranks of top promotions such as WWE and AEW:

“I’d like to wrestle for other places as well,” Velasquez said. “We’ve been in talks with WWE. I’ve talked to Cody [Rhodes] and AEW a little bit. I want to talk to them a little more. I think AEW is doing some good things.

“I’ve talked to him [Cody] a little bit, I want to talk to him a little more. I think they are doing great things, I think AEW is doing some really cool things.”

What do you think about Velasquez’s pursuit of a professional wrestling career and his performance in New York?

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Chael Sonnen Praises Justin Gaethje’s Knockout Power

Justin Gaethje got yet another knockout win. In the main event of UFC Vancouver, Gaethje knocked out Donald Cerrone in the first round to extend his winning streak to three. In his past three wins, he has knocked out his opponent in the first round. He no doubt has tremendous knockout power, but Chael Sonnen […]

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Justin Gaethje got yet another knockout win.

In the main event of UFC Vancouver, Gaethje knocked out Donald Cerrone in the first round to extend his winning streak to three. In his past three wins, he has knocked out his opponent in the first round.

He no doubt has tremendous knockout power, but Chael Sonnen explains why he is able to knock so many people out. That is because Justin Gaethje throws with intention to knock someone out. You rarely see him throw jabs.

“Everything he throws is designed to put you out. He does not come out with a real jab heavy game. He is looking for crosses, hooks, and uppercuts,” Chael Sonnen said on his YouTube channel. “Those are finishing punches. Jabs, are to let you find out where the opponent is, it is a tool for measure.”

With that, every punch he throws has a chance to put your lights out. It happened to James Vick, Edson Barboza, and now Cerrone. All Gaethje needs is one punch and that is because all his punches are thrown with power. Not to find range and keep the fight at a distance like many people do.

Ultimately, Chael Sonnen is very impressed by Justin Gaethje’s power and the way he fights. He says he uses his wrestling as a defensive tactic to keep the fight where he wants it so he can land this hard shots. He needs to close the distance to land these power shots and that is exactly what he does.

Who do you think Justin Gaethje should fight next?

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Dustin Poirier Teases He’s Conor McGregor’s December Opponent

Conor McGregor shook up the mixed martial arts (MMA) community last night (Sun. September 15, 2019) with his cryptic Tweet. McGregor Tweeted out “Dublin, December 14th,” with no further context. Many believe McGregor is teasing his Octagon return, given December 14 is the same day as the UFC 245 pay-per-view (PPV) event. However, that PPV […]

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Conor McGregor shook up the mixed martial arts (MMA) community last night (Sun. September 15, 2019) with his cryptic Tweet.

McGregor Tweeted out “Dublin, December 14th,” with no further context. Many believe McGregor is teasing his Octagon return, given December 14 is the same day as the UFC 245 pay-per-view (PPV) event. However, that PPV goes down in Las Vegas, while McGregor Tweeted out a Dublin location.

Now, a fan has asked former McGregor foe, Dustin Poirier, if he will be fighting in December. Poirier responded with a simple emoji of Santa Claus. A fan responded by saying he believes Poirier will get his hand raised again, with Poirier responding with, “I promise I will.”

The matchup makes sense at this point. McGregor hasn’t fought since his October loss to Khabib Nurmagomedov last year. “The Eagle” choked out McGregor in the fourth round with a neck crank. Poirier was defeated by Nurmagomedov as well earlier this month via third-round submission by way of a rear-naked choke.

It was a title unification bout with Poirier’s then-interim lightweight title and Nurmagomedov’s undisputed title. While Nurmagomedov likely faces Tony Ferguson next, a rematch between McGregor and Poirier could be the next marquee matchup at 155 pounds. The pair initially met back in 2014 with McGregor taking home a first-round TKO.

What do you think about Poirier’s December tease? Do you think he’ll be rematching McGregor next?

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Court filings reveal more info on how much ‘top’ UFC fighters are paid

Photo by Buda Mendes/Zuffa LLC/Zuffa LLC via Getty Images

An internal UFC document entered as evidence details, without revealing names, what the top UFC fighters made from 2012-2015. For years, when fans had questions regarding any matt…

UFC 237: Cannonier v Silva

Photo by Buda Mendes/Zuffa LLC/Zuffa LLC via Getty Images

An internal UFC document entered as evidence details, without revealing names, what the top UFC fighters made from 2012-2015.

For years, when fans had questions regarding any matter related to the UFC’s finances, the best answers were often little more than guesses. But thanks to the UFC antitrust lawsuit, where once all we had were guesses we now have numbers directly from Zuffa.

I have previous written about what was revealed during the recent hearings and what we now know about the UFC’s finances (which will have to be updated as new information becomes unsealed), while Tim Bissell has written a series of articles using the unredacted portions of the expert reports (which you can read here, here, here, and here).

Over the next few days, I’ll be looking at what else has been disclosed by the suit, including UFC event expenses, boxing wage shares, and financial details for other MMA promotions. For today’s piece though, we will be starting with fighter pay, namely those at the top of the card.

NEW INFO ON FIGHTER PAY

A few weeks ago I posted an article that made use of several graphs that were shown during the expert hearings. The first graph came from a report prepared for the sale in 2016, entitled “Project Basquiat” that revealed the total wage share and total pay for the fighters from 2012-2015 plus estimates for 2016-2020. Last week, Zuffa’s attorneys filed a redacted version of that report, with that specific page included, which I have posted below.


I also made use of two graphs that were projected on slides during the hearing. These were titled “Fighter Comp as % of UFC Event Revenue” and “Fighter Comp as % of PPV Event Revenues.” Both of these graphs were part of a series of graphs produced by Stephen Tecci, the then Director of Strategy (and current Director of Operations), back in 2013 for John Mulkey, Zuffa’s Chief Financial Officer at the time. All of the graphs were filed, unsealed, for the court, and I have posted all of them below.




WHAT THE TOP 20 FIGHTERS ARE MAKING

In addition to these new graphs (which I will have to update my UFC finance piece to include) the Project Basquiat report included another page that gave us some idea of what the top UFC fighters make per year.

Source: from “Project Basquiat” document filed as exhibit in Le, et al v. Zuffa, LLC.

Using the total fighter comp and percentages given, we can calculate not only how much the top 20 highest paid fighters made combined from 2012-2015, we can break it down so that we also now how much the top fighter, the next 4, the 6th-10th. and the 11th-20th figher made in total earning in the years given.

What these number don’t tell us is the names of the fighters, what they made for individual fights, or how many fights they participated in to earn what they did. People will have to go back to guessing who made what for those details.

What they do show are some rather surprising numbers, perhaps the most surprising being that the highest paid fighter in 2014 — a year in which neither Georges St-Pierre nor Anderson Silva fought — apparently only made $1.8 million for the year.

(Or perhaps not that surprising when comparing them to the numbers who got from a fighters’ survey I conducted a few years ago.)

There was also a piece of additional information, found at the bottom of the first Project Basquiat page I posted above, that we missed in the court.

UFC $/min stats based on 30min of fighting annually and 2015’s $8.6m payout to top fighter. Note [Redacted] expected to receive $15m in 2016 (2.3% of 2016 revenues).

Besides $8.6 million in 2015 to the highest paid UFC fighter, (my calculation based on the graph was a nearly identical $8.54 million) the UFC was apparently projecting that the highest paid fighter in 2016 would earn $15 million. Giving us something of a hint as to who that fighter is, the redacted portion is exactly 5 letters in length, suggesting that the name might belong to either Brock (Lesnar), Conor (McGregor), (Jon) Jones, or Ronda (Rousey).

Lesnar seems like a likely guess, because his large purse was cited as one of the reasons why UFC 200’s total payout would be much higher than typical. The report also goes on to highlight his PPV history.


A couple of things lead me to exclude him as the likely candidate though. First, according to another page in the report, the UFC’s plans for Brock in 2016 were limited to UFC 200. He was not projected to take part in another UFC event that year.

Second, we know from the hearings that the total payout for UFC 200 was approximately $19.9 million. Since the reported payout for this event was just under $7 million, for Lesnar to have been paid $15 million for that one event then no one else on the card could have received any unreported pay. With Anderson Silva, Daniel Cormier, and defending Champion Meisha Tate on the card — based on what we know about the UFC’s pay structure — that seems impossible.

If not Lesnar, then McGregor, Jones, and Rousey, three fighters that were citied as the biggest draws in the rport, are all good candidates. Rousey seems the least likely, since she was forecast to fight only once by the UFC in 2016. Having earned $8.6 million in three fights in 2015, it seems unlikely to me that she would nearly double that amount for a single fight in the next year. Therefore Jones, who they were planning on having fight three times in 2016 (the report was written before his failed drug test for UFC 200), and McGregor, who was penned in for only two fights at the time of the report, are the most likely names.


Based on what has been released the last few weeks, it seems very likely we will be revisiting this post to update it sometime in the near future. Until then, keep an eye out on Bloody Elbow for future posts looking at the breakdown of revenues and expenses for UFC events, the business of boxing promoters, and a look at the finances of some of the UFC’s competitors, namely Bellator and Strikeforce.

Dillon Danis Rips Into Tyron Woodley Concert

Dillon Danis has been trash talking seemingly everyone in the UFC. Yet, this past weekend, he said he has hit rock bottom as he attended a Tyron Woodley concert. “you know you hit rock bottom when you go to a @TWooodley concert,” he wrote on Twitter. Tyron Woodley, of course, has released several songs and […]

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Dillon Danis has been trash talking seemingly everyone in the UFC.

Yet, this past weekend, he said he has hit rock bottom as he attended a Tyron Woodley concert.

“you know you hit rock bottom when you go to a @TWooodley concert,” he wrote on Twitter.

Tyron Woodley, of course, has released several songs and has spent time on his music career. He has recorded songs with Wiz Khalifa and others. Yet, Dillon Danis is still not impressed with his music.

But, this could very well be just Dillon Danis just being himself. He trash talks seemingly everyone. He has taken shots at likes of Ben Askren, Jon Jones, and even YouTube stars in Logan and Jake Paul.

Many fighters have responded to him, even Jones after Dillon Danis said he offered to do a grappling match with him.

“I offered to do a grappling match with him,” Danis said on an episode Ariel Helwani’s MMA Show. “If we fought in MMA, I feel like, from his stance and how tall he is, if I did an Imanari roll I would take his leg home with me.

“Why not? I come from jiu-jitsu where we fight the biggest guys,” he added when asked why he believed he could overcome the size disadvantage. “I’ve fought guys that are like 300 pounds in jiujitsu. You have to do it. I fought seven of them in the same day. So I don’t know man, I’m a different kind of martial artist. I’ve been doing this since I was a kid, training with anybody and anywhere.”

Jones then responded with the following:

“Dude, nothing is going on with Dillon Danis,” Jones said. “I think he knows I’m the type of guy to respond and it’s getting his following up. So, I think that’s what’s going on with him. At the end of the day, I don’t come out and talk trash about these guys. That just came out of nowhere. I feel like I’ve been in this sport for over 10 years now, some guys just like to bring up my name because it looks cool.”

“I wouldn’t grapple him but I’d put my foot in his mouth,” he later added.

What do you make of Dillon Danis’ attending a Tyron Woodley concert?

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