UFC CEO Dana White has long upheld a policy of discretion when it comes to disclosing combatants’ salaries.
White is fully aware that athletes would often divulge their earnings to one another. This is even though the UFC CEO’s policy was to withhold information about a competitors’ income until they had misrepresented it to the public. This is based on a 2017 deposition for the UFC antitrust action, which federal judge Richard Boulware just unsealed.
White stated: “All the fighters know what other fighters are making. They all talk. They all know. Even guys who say they don’t want their number out there, they tell.”
This transparency among combatants occasionally sparked disputes, as exemplified by a case White recalled involving a professional wrestler who joined the UFC without prior professional experience.
White referred to an incident involving CM Punk, where the revelation of Punk’s payout triggered uproar among the combatants and the public.
White stated in the deposition: “It just happened recently again, too. We had some guy that was — that was paid a certain amount of money and never — oh, the professional wrestler that we brought in. Not Brock [Lesnar], the other one.”
The lawyer asked, “CM Punk?”
White then responded: “Oh, yeah. People went crazy when they saw what he got paid. … Even the women.”
Punk was paid more than twice as much as the $500,000 stated payoff for his professional debut versus Mickey Gall at UFC 203. Punk received a staggering $1,042,736 in compensation, according to recently released UFC lawsuit filings.
The lawsuit was initiated by over 1,200 combatants who alleged that the UFC aimed to manipulate competitors’ earnings to monopolize the top-tier MMA market.
A copy of CM Punk’s contract that was made public during the lawsuit claims that the former AEW star immediately rose to the top of the UFC’s disclosed pay scale.
Cat Zingano wrote: “CM Punk made $500k on his entry fight while the rest of us pay to fight? Y’all should be ashamed UFC.”
Former lightweight champion wrote: “Nothing against CM Punk make half million for his MMA debut. But I think champs should be [making] that too, people who dedicated [an] entire life.”
There is no denying that CM Punk’s attendance at UFC 203 helped to promote the event, resulting in an estimated 450,000 purchases and $26,995,500 in revenue.