UFC's anti-trust lawsuit reveals fighters’ nondisclosed earnings

A recently submitted court document in the UFC's anti-trust lawsuit has revealed the nondisclosed earnings of some of the promotion's renowned fighters.

The "Internal Zuffa Bout Compensation" report discloses all the financial aspects of the fighters' bouts, including show and win bonuses, performance bonuses reported to athletic commissions and the public, as well as non-disclosed payments like pay-per-view bonuses, side letters and discretionary bonuses.

Although the documents did not specify the fighters, other sources related to the anti-trust suit have provided strong indications of who benefited from these payouts.

The list of these fighters includes high-profile names like Conor McGregor, Jon Jones, Ronda Rousey, Georges St-Pierre, Anderson Silva, Randy Couture, Jose Aldo, B.J. Penn and Phil "CM Punk" Brooks.

The fighters' earnings in the Octagon

With the help of business expert John Nash, Bloody Elbow revealed several fighters’ payouts from various bouts.

CM Punk received a total payout of $1.04 million in 2016, comprising a disclosed salary of $500,000 and an additional $30,000 payment for his bout against Gall.

Ronda Rousey netted either $262,000 or $574,720 in her bout against Liz Carmouche. Rousey's officially disclosed earnings stood at $90,000, whereas Carmouche received $12,000. Rousey pocketed $1.82 million against Miesha Tate. Tate's disclosed pay was $28,000, while Rousey's was $100,000.

In Jon Jones' UFC 182 encounter with Daniel Cormier, he received $3.64 million. Of this, Jones' reported earnings were $500,000, contrasting with Cormier's disclosed payout of $90,000. Meanwhile, in the UFC 197 match against Ovince Saint Preux, Jones received $2.68 million, with his disclosed earnings standing at $500,000.

The report also revealed McGregor's financial outcomes from various fights. For his showdown against Chad Mendes, "The Notorious" received $2.64 million, including a $2.11 million discretionary bonus. McGregor's earnings before this fight were a flat $500,000. He also pocketed $4.48 million or $4.54 million for his bout with Jose Aldo, with Aldo receiving $2.38 million.

McGregor received $5.58 million for his first encounter with Nate Diaz, with Diaz securing $2.83 million from the event. The pay-per-view sales generated $61 million.

McGregor then amassed $5.62 million for his second match against Diaz, where Diaz received $4.32 million. McGregor's fight against Eddie Alvarez earned him $6.81 million, with the UFC collecting $66 million in pay-per-view revenue.

McGregor earned close to $20 million for his participation in nine UFC bouts, of which he won eight. This compensation includes McGregor's earnings from his debut against Marcus Brimage to his rematch with Diaz.

UFC's anti-trust lawsuit timeline

The UFC's anti-trust lawsuit originates from a group of fighters who accuse the organization of engaging in "anti-competitive business practices" between 2011 and 2016.

In December 2014, a group of MMA fighters, including Cung Le, Nate Quarry and Jon Fitch, joined forces to file a class-action lawsuit against the UFC and its parent company, Zuffa LLC. Their claim revolves around the alleged use of "improper strategies" by the UFC to control the market for MMA fighter services.

Judge Richard Boulware granted class-action status to the lawsuit after nearly a decade. The UFC contested this decision but was denied, setting the stage for a potential trial in 2024.