UFC 291 payouts finally revealed, kinda, after Utah changes policy

The Pete Suazo Utah Athletic Commission has released UFC 291 payout figures for fighters who have chosen to release the information.

By: Nate Wilcox | 2 months ago

4 UFC 291 fighters opt to release their payouts

Historically, state athletic commissions released MMA fighter pay information as a matter of course. This data is widely reported on and has been big part of how media and regulatory bodies keep promoters honest.

MMA: UFC 291 - Maverick vs Cachoeira Jul 29, 2023; Salt Lake City, Utah, USA; Miranda Maverick (red gloves) fights Priscila Capoeira (blue gloves) during UFC 291 at Delta Center. Salt Lake City Delta Center Utah USA, EDITORIAL USE ONLY PUBLICATIONxINxGERxSUIxAUTxONLY Copyright: xJeffxSwingerx 20230729_szo_om2_0001
IMAGO | USA TODAY by Jeff Swinger.

Utah has recently changed their policies however. As MMA Junkie reports, “Previously, fighter purse information had been released as public record. Though PSUAC executive director Scott Bowler initially declined to provide the information to MMA Junkie after UFC 278 in August 2022, it was eventually provided.

After a recent request for UFC 291 fighters’ purses, Bowler, who also serves as vice president of the Association of Boxing Commissions and Combative Sports (ABC), explained the change in a written response letter to MMA Junkie and called the information “trade secrets.”

“The athletes… have expressed valid concerns regarding the public disclosure of the compensation amount in bout agreements because public disclosure of their purse amounts will negatively impact their individual ability to negotiate compensation or purse amounts for future events,” Bowler wrote.”

Payouts for Kevin Holland, Bobby Green among those released

These are the four fighters who opted to release their UFC 291 payouts:

CJ Vergara: $60,000 (includes $30,000 win bonus) for win over Vinicius Salvador

Gabriel Bonfim: $24,000 (includes $12,000 win bonus) for win over Trevin Giles

Kevin Holland: $356,000 (includes $178,000 win bonus) for win over Michael Chiesa

Bobby Green: $300,000 (includes $150,000 win bonus) for win over Tony Ferguson

Commission reticence gets pundit pushback

Not everyone is happy with Utah joining other commissions in the recent trend of refusing to release fighter pay information. Veteran MMA reporter Steven Marrocco said, “Welcome to the Twilight Zone.”

Luke Thomas pulled no punches, tweeting, “

Make no mistake about it: numerous commissions – including some in important states – have openly rejected their responsibilities as watchdog and instead work on behalf of promoters at the direct expense of the fighters. Beyond shameful, (Utah Athletic Commission).”

Utah very happy to host the UFC

As we posted before UFC 291, Utah is very happy, hell they’re lucky to get to host a major UFC ppv.

The Salt Lake Tribune has a fascinating piece asking the question, “So how is it — with UFC 291 coming to the Delta Center this Saturday — that humble little Salt Lake City has managed to host two pay-per-view events in a span of less than 12 months?

In 2010, the city was set to host UFC Live: Jones vs. Matyushenko in August, 2010 but things didn’t work out.

For one thing, the event was booked on a Sunday night. Secondly, the event was lackluster and only drew 8,000 fans in San Diego.

They tried again in 2016, hosting a UFC Fight Night that only sold “about 6,000 tickets” a weak performance that came back to haunt them.

“I think their reservations were based on 2016 — Pete (Dropick, UFC’s Executive VP of Event Development & Operations) said [it was] sort of underwhelming. It didn’t perform to our goal. So he had reservations about that. And I had to convince him, ‘That’s because you didn’t bring us a pay-per-view,’” said Powell. “And they had reservations about our overall population — they’re looking at it like, well, Phoenix has 10 million people and Salt Lake has 2.8.”

NBA Jazz owner had to get involved

Jazz owner Ryan Smith explained his interest in promoting Salt Lake City and hosting a UFC last year in a conversation with The Tribune.

“Salt Lake City is not a flyover city, and Utah is not a flyover state,” he said. “That’s manifesting through concert tours, that’s manifesting through events like this. It’s becoming a destination.”

“Though not a huge UFC fan himself, Smith recalled accompanying Jazz players Rudy Gobert and Raul Neto in August 2017 to the massive crossover bout featuring boxing legend Floyd Mayweather and UFC star Conor McGregor, and being awed by the spectacle of “The Money Fight.”

“And so, he said that he and his Smith Entertainment Group team had talked for the past few years about potentially trying to bring the UFC back to Utah following the disappointment that was the underwhelming “Fight Night” event held back in 2016.”

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About the author
Nate Wilcox
Nate Wilcox

Nate Wilcox is the founding editor of BloodyElbow.com. As such he has hired every editor and writer to work for the site. Wilcox’s writing for BE is known for its emphasis on MMA history, the evolution of fighting techniques and strong opinions. Wilcox developed the SBN MMA consensus rankings which were featured in USA Today from 2009 to 2011. Before founding BE, Wilcox was a political operative working for such figures as Senators John Kerry and Mark Warner and an early political blogger. He is the co-author of Netroots Rising, a history of the political blogosphere from 2003 to 2007. Wilcox also hosts the Let It Roll podcast on music history for the Pantheon Podcast Network.

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