Old school fans remember when Frank Mir was considered a UFC heavyweight great. A former undisputed champion, Mir was also half of the headlining billing for UFC 100, across from WWE superstar Brock Lesnar—in what would prove to be one of the biggest blockbuster PPV events in the promotion’s history. But, according to the 43-year-old Las Vegas native, he never made a million dollars from a fight purse in his entire career.
Mir recently spoke to talkSPORT and was asked if he ever made bank during his UFC tenure. He was straight to the point with his answer.
“Not at all. For example, I saw a boxing match between Tyson Fury and Deontay Wilder—their second fight—I think we actually beat their pay-per-view buys,” Mir said, speaking of the UFC 100 bout.
UFC 100 took place during International Fight Week in 2009. Alongside the headlining rematch between Frank Mir and Brock Lesnar, the card featured a title defense for Georges St-Pierre—against hard hitting Brazilian Thiago Alves—as well as the first fight between Dan Henderson and Michael Bisping, fresh off their stint as coaches for the Ultimate Fighter UK.
Lesnar had lost his first fight against Frank Mir a year prior, via kneebar. This was his big chance at revenge. The card rung up a reported 1.6 million PPV buys and around $5.1 million in gate revenue. At least based on these numbers, Fury-Wilder 2 paled in comparison on one level with an estimated 850,000 PPV buys, tops. The boxing bout, did however, pull in a reported $16.9 million in gate revenue. Also worth noting, the Fury-Wilder PPV sold for $79.99 on American broadcast. When UFC 100 came out, the promotion’s PPVs were still just $44.95 apiece.
All that said, both Fury and Wilder were reportedly guaranteed at least $5 million in the rematch but ended up taking home $25 million apiece, before factoring in their PPV percentage. For UFC 100, Mir reportedly made $45,000, with Lesnar taking home a reported $400,000. There were side letters to those deals, and those infamous ‘locker room bonuses’. But from the sound of things, that didn’t quite make up for the difference in income.
Mir has questions about the UFC payout process
These days fighter pay has been a long-standing issue within the UFC, prompting many athletes to consider other opportunities as their careers wind down. For a pioneer of the sport like Frank Mir, however, his lack of options at the time sound like a cruel truth to digest.
“Both those guys made multiple millions of dollars, I never hit seven figures. That made me realize, ‘Oh, wow! I was the main event of that card, and I didn’t get seven figures and these guys got eight figures.’
“It blew my mind and that was probably my first opening to go, ‘This card generated $50 million, who made the money?’” he continued. “So, that’s one of the things that I want to fix about our sport, when a card makes $25 million the company can keep $10 million but the rest is divided by the fighters.”
Frank Mir’s current career status
Back in 2022, Frank Mir stated that he wanted his final fight alongside his daughter Bella. That’s a plan he intends to stick to. He’s currently slated for one last bout at UFL 3 on August 12th in Phoenix. An opponent has yet to be named, but the 20-year-old Bella (3-0 in MMA) will also be part of the card.
Mir (19-13) last fought in a mixed martial arts cage at Bellator 231 in 2019 against Roy Nelson, defeating Nelson for the second time, via decision. He then fought in a boxing match under Triller against Bulgarian Olympic competitor Kubrat Pulev in 2021, and lost via first-round TKO.
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