Sean O’Malley was the biggest star at UFC 292 but not the best paid

Despite all the focus on Sean O'Malley, Zhang Weili walked away with the biggest disclosed payout for UFC 292.

By: Jack Wannan | 4 weeks ago
Sean O’Malley was the biggest star at UFC 292 but not the best paid
Sean O'Malley at UFC 292. IMAGO/USA TODAY/Bob DeChiara

Despite Sean O’Malley getting the most attention, the queen of the strawweight division walked out of UFC 292 with the biggest paycheck.

Sean O’Malley made less than Zhang Weili

UFC Strawweight Champion Zhang Weili was paid $520,000 for her victory over Amanda Lemos at the promotion’s pay-per-view event earlier this month, per a disclosed payout list which was uncovered by MMA Fighting recently in a public records request.

That figure is the highest payout of anybody on the card. Newly-crowned UFC Bantamweight Champion Sean O’Malley earned $500,000 for his main event win, and losing headliner Aljamain Sterling was paid the same. Zhang’s opponent, Lemos, walked away with a $250,000 for her unsuccessful title appearance.

The last time Zhang had a payout for a fight publicly known was when she fought Joanna Jedrzejczyk to a split decision in early 2020. In that fight, which she appeared in as the UFC Strawweight Champion during her first reign, she picked up $200,000, plus an extra $50,000 for “Fight of the Night.”

Weidman highest earner on prelims

The highest-paid fighter not appearing in a title fight was former UFC Middleweight Champion Chris Weidman, who walked away with $426,000 after losing the featured prelim bout against Brad Tavares. The successful half of that fight, Tavares, earned $200,000.

The second-highest non-title fight earner was Marlon Vera, who with his combined show money and winning purse took home $310,000 after overcoming veteran Pedro Munhoz. The payment for Munhoz was $150,000.

UFC 292 offers rare look at disclosed purses

It’s rare that we get to see disclosed purses for high-profile MMA events nowadays. This is because many of the states that host events do not disclose fight purses. Nevada, the state which hosts most UFC events, halted their disclosure process in July of 2020. But with UFC heading to the TD Garden in Boston, Massachusetts last week, purses were able to be seen through a public records request.

It’s worth noting that these payouts may not reflect all of the money that fighters received for their appearance at the event. Sponsorship money – including what is given to them through the promotion’s guidelines compliance pay – performance of the night bonuses, or other off-the-record payments, are not reflected in these figures.

For reference, four fighters walked away with an additional $50,000 due to performance bonuses. Those fighters were O’Malley and Zhang, along with The Ultimate Fighter Contestants Brad Katona and Cody Gibson. While these payouts are publicly known, they are not part of the listed payouts below.

Full list of UFC 292 disclosed payouts

Main Card

  • Sean O’Malley (To Show: $500,000)
  • Aljamain Sterling (To Show: $500,000)
  • Zhang Weili (To Show: $520,000)
  • Amanda Lemos (To Show: $250,000)
  • Ian Machado Garry (To Show: $50,000 To Win: $50,000 Total: $100,000)
  • Neil Magny (To Show: $134,000)
  • Mario Bautista (To Show: $43,000 To Win: $43,000 Total: $86,000)
  • Da’Mon Blackshear (To Show: $27,000)
  • Marlon Vera (To Show: $155,000 To Win: $155,000 Total: $310,000)
  • Pedro Munhoz (To Show: $150,000)

Preliminary Card

  • Brad Tavares (To Show: $100,000 To Win: $100,000 Total: $200,000)
  • Chris Weidman (To Show: $426,000)
  • Gregory Rodrigues (To Show: $50,000 To Win: $50,000 Total $100,000)
  • Denis Tiuliulin (To Show: $14,000)
  • Kurt Holobaugh (To Show: $15,000 To Win: $15,000 Total: $30,000)
  • Austin Hubbard (To Show: $32,000)
  • Brad Katona (To Show: $32,000 To Win: $32,000 Total: $64,000)
  • Cody Gibson (To Show: $15,000)
  • Andre Petroski (To Show: $18,000 To Win $18,000 Total: $36,000)
  • Gerald Meerschaert (To Show: $100,000)
  • Natalia Silva (To Show: $40,000 To Win: $40,000 Total $80,000)
  • Andrea Lee (To Show: $70,000)
  • Karine Silva (To Show: $14,000 To Win: $14,000 Total: $28,000)
  • Maryna Moroz (To Show: $50,000)
Share this story

About the author
Jack Wannan
Jack Wannan

Jack Wannan is a reporter for Bloody Elbow. He joined the site in 2023 after previously writing for MMA-Prospects.com and Knockdown News. He is currently in the process of earning a bachelor's degree in journalism at Toronto Metropolitan University.

More from the author

Bloody Elbow Podcast
Related Stories