Ariel Helwani explains UFC stars get several times over what the disclosed amount is

UFC is often criticized for their growing profit margins, as an increasing number of aged out MMA stars struggles to keep their life going. TUF1 winner Stephan Bonnar is one of the better examples. Bonnar is widely credited for having saved the organization with TUF1 performance against Forest Griffin yet he didn’t have much to show for it and ultimately died of heart failure while working another job.

But the backlash isn’t limited to UFC, Bellator made waves when disclosed pay for Bellator 290 revealed that Fedor Emelianenko received just $100,000 for his final MMA outing against Ryan Bader (who had disclosed earnings of $150,000).

Bader’s comments on The MMA Hour, however, shed light on the situation. “No, I made significantly more,” he stated. While it is common for pay to be undisclosed and for disclosed pay to be lower than the actual amount, Bader confirms that Bellator treats its champions very well, and he is financially secure.

Paulo Costa may have played into this criticism, crying out that he was getting just $65,000 to show (and $65,000 to win) against former Middleweight champion Luke Rockhold.

Now Ariel Helwani debunked these pay claims saying:

“So all the promoters do this. It doesn’t matter for the UFC. It doesn’t matter if you’re Bellator.”

“It doesn’t matter. All of them do this in Miami. It’s more of an intimate thing than a boxing thing for whatever reason.”

“They’ll sign you to a deal and they’ll say, All right, what we’re going to release to the commission is X amount, 100,000. That will be your disclosed pay. We’ll have an agreement with you and that’s what we’ll give to them.”

“And they can disclose it because some states do it. Some say so. Then on the side, we’re going to do another deal with you and you’re going to get paid probably five, six, seven X to what that deal is. I can assure you right now, without getting into their nitty gritty, those two guys made a hell of a lot closer to seven figures, if not more than they were closer to 100,000.”

“I wish my media would not report this stuff because it’s not actually factual. Like, it’s like, all right, this is what they released, but it’s not the truth. I guarantee you, when Conor McGregor and Michael Chandler fight, they’ll say, Conor made a million and everyone will write it. He did not make a million.”

“I can assure you he’s making a hell of a lot more. So is Chandler. Baderm Fedor… all the big dogs… Izzy? All of them are making a hell of a lot more than is being released. That being said, they’re still not making as much as their counterparts in boxing. Let’s not get a twisted. Eddie Hearn confirmed that for us on Wednesday.”

“But please, when you see these big names and the disclosed pay and the social media graphics and the articles and all that stuff, it’s not the truth, especially if it feels insulting. It’s more than likely not true. It’s a hell of a lot more. Please understand that. So everyone who is tagging me and tagging Jake Paul. Oh, why are you so quiet about this?”