When it comes down to dollars and cents, it’s not hard to see why AlJo may have been eager to try and test the open market and get a better contract out of the UFC. That’s the takeaway I get, when looking at the numbers reported by Brett Okamoto for UFC Fight Night Namajunas vs. VanZant. Okamoto shared the reported salaries for a few of the card’s fighters, and while Jim Miller led the charge at $56,000/$56,000 Sage Northcutt and Paige Vanzant weren’t far behind with $40,000/$40,000. The similarly tenured, and higher ranked Sterling? $14,000/$14,000.
From last night, NSAC disclosed purses, Jim Miller led card as far as potential with $56k/$56k. Saige/Paige $40k/$40k. Sterling $14k/$14k.
— Brett Okamoto (@bokamotoESPN) December 12, 2015
It’s not especially unsual to see a fighter like Sterling on the low end, even with his top 5 ranking, the UFC’s salary structure has generally been a tracked in tenure kind of thing. Outperform expectations and you can negotiate for more the next time around, but until you do, you’re pretty much locked in on the slow road to the top. Which, of course, is what makes Sage and Paige’s deals so interesting. Not only has the UFC made a very clear media investment in building these two young stars, but they’re making a serious financial investment in keeping them as well.
As an advocate for better fighter pay, this isn’t bad news. Potential top talent should be well paid. But, I wouldn’t be surprised if this news creates more than a little bit of grumbling among the ranks of fighters for whom it will take years to get that kind of money.
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