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James Toney earns $500,000 for UFC 118 loss to Randy Couture

Half-a-million dollars may sound like small potatoes to fans accustomed with the enormous payouts main event boxers often receive but in the case of Mixed Martial Arts it stands out as being one of the top per-fight salaries in the sport’s history. Those worlds collided earlier today when it was announced iconic boxer James Toney received an event-high $500,000 for his lackluster loss to former UFC double-divisional champ Randy Couture this past weekend at UFC 118 in Boston. Toney’s salary netted him more than $153,000 per minute spent in the Octagon and accounted for more than a third of the fully disclosed payroll.

Couture, by comparison, earned $250,000 for the first-round pummeling without any reported “win bonus” involved.

Their salaries were released earlier today along with the remainder of the card by the Massachusetts State Athletic Commission and reported by MMAWeekly.

The full list of salary results can be found below:

Mike Pierce – $24,000 (includes $12,000 win bonus) def. Amilcar Alves – $6,000
Greg Soto – $12,000 (includes $6,000 win bonus) def. Nick Osipczak – $10,000
Dan Miller – $30,000 (includes $15,000 win bonus) def. John Salter – $8,000
Nik Lentz – $22,000 (includes $11,000 win bonus) def. Andre Winner – $10,000
Joe Lauzon – $84,000 (includes $12,000 win bonus, $60,000 “Submission of the Night” bonus) def. Gabe Ruediger – $8,000
Nate Diaz – $120,000 (includes $30,000 win bonus, $60,000 “Fight of the Night” bonus) def. Marcus Davis – $91,000 (includes $60,000 “Fight of the Night” bonus)
Gray Maynard – $46,000 (includes $23,000 win bonus) def. Kenny Florian – $65,000
Demian Maia – $68,000 (includes $34,000 win bonus) def. Mario Miranda – $8,000
Randy Couture – $250,000 def. James Toney – $500,000
Frankie Edgar – $96,000 (includes $48,000 win bonus) def. B.J. Penn – $150,000

  • tlester4130 says:

    That is literally sad. i dont even know what to say right meow….

  • danw84 says:

    I just don’t get it.

    How does someone, completely unpursued by the UFC, practically beg his way in, and still manage to negotiate a completely unreasonable salary? It makes no god damn sense.

    This is simply an insult to every single fighter in MMA.

  • Rece Rock says:

    I keep saying this is a mutha fucking business!

    That fat fuck bought in more buyrates than anybody else on the card… from before he even knew who he was fighting or when or where he was already building up a fight and drawing the interest of fight fans regardless of genre… Do I think he deserved $500G’s nah but I guarantee Coutore after getting a cut of the live gate and PPV buyrates will be over Toney’s pay… Once again UFC is a private co. and doesn’t have to release salaries and if they do they don’t have to be full salaries either… In this case Im sure they paid Toney that amount of money to avoid having to pay him on the back end with gate % and PPV % just cut him a check and reap the benefits of his one and done performance. I don’t agree with it but I certainly understand it.

  • Rece Rock says:

    Payout Perspective:

    The normal disclaimers apply. These payouts do not represent the full sum of money paid to fighters; they often also receive discretionary bonuses and sponsorship money. The sport’s top draws often also receive a cut of the PPV revenue from the card upon which they headline.

    Randy Couture and BJ Penn are both known recipients of PPV cuts, which means they both likely grossed over a million for the fight depending on how well it sold.


  • Quiksilver says:

    They totally need to standardize payments…

    $XX for an under card
    $XX for a main card
    $XX bonus for a win
    Title Fights, have a Champions Purse — $XX for the win, $XX for the loss (regardless of if the winner is the champ or not)
    $XX for fight/submission/ko of the night

    Personally I would like to see this:
    $% bonus for every win you go undefeated, i.e. 10 wins in a row = 20% more money

  • Guthookd says:

    That’s like 50K for every undefended shot he took to the dome and then a ten spot for the sub…LOL.

    I wish Randy would have decided to arm bar his ass and just snap that big ugly hunK of turd right off the main shit pile that is James Toney.

  • Angry Mike says:

    Think of it this way and take some comfort, MMA fans. Toney was paid to be Couture’s bitch, and that’s exactly what he was. And getting paid a lot of money just makes him a high-priced bitch.

  • danw84 says:

    The UFC being a business or not, Dana White just told every single fighter in the UFC, and MMA as a whole, “this man who has zero MMA ability and who has absolutely no business in this cage, is worth far more to me than you are.”

    Quit with the “it’s a business” comments as if you’re some sort of business expert. No shit it’s a business. Every sport at the professional level is first and foremost a business. That doesn’t mean that it’s ok to just do everything and anything to increase that bottom line.

    Dana White is just being the hypocrite he’s always been. He talks about freak show fights being horrible for the sport, calls out out other promotions on them, then when he finally has his own it’s ok because he admits it’s a freak show. Don’t mind the fact that he goes ahead and pays the guy over 10x as much as many well known and respected fighters get. Yeah, that sends an awesome message.

    By the way, how do any of you know Toney didn’t get some of the PPV as well?

  • Sumoninja says:

    Actually Dana White just told every single fighter in the UFC and MMA as a whole, for the zillionth time, that if you bring in the sales, you get paid. How many times do they have to show that shot of the “don’t let it go to the judges” sign above the locker room on TUF? How many times does he have to spell it out? It sucks, I completely agree that Toney doesn’t deserve to make any money for his MMA skill, but for the lead up buzz, fan draw, and the crossover appeal, it’s probably the best $500,000 the UFC could spend for marketing today.
    It IS a business. Unfortunately it’s not who’s the best jui-jitsu guy, or the best muay thai guy, or who has the best technique…it’s who makes the most money for the company. That’s a tough pill to swallow for the purists, and I love seeing great technique as much as anybody, but you have to know that those are the rules of the game. Be exciting. Create income. Checks follow. If along the way you win and have incredible technique and are an ambassador for MMA, thats great, but its not priority #1 for the UFC.

  • Lord Faust says:

    People need a sense of perspective. $500k might be a lot for an unknown MMA fighter with no experience, but it’s chump change for a boxer with a legit resumé.

    Toney basically prostituted himself to the UFC, and Couture got to have his way with him.

    Like many others, I don’t agree with it but I certainly understand it.

  • bigbadjohn says:

    oh Dan. we dont have to be business-majors to see why Toney made what he did. In fact its as simple a business tactic as they come. You have a product (Toney) and a consumer (fans). In this case the consumers were more diverse, had more numbers than usual and were hungrier than usual for thw product. You really dont think for a second Dana didnt make a killing on James do you? And as far as a message to other UFC fighters, simple. As in any other sport in the world, talent is great, but marketability runs the game. Usually those 2 coincide but not always.

  • TerribleT says:

    Rece Rock u know ur sh_t dude! U r exactly right w/ what u said about Toney,even though he didn’t know jack sh_t about MMA,he still sparked the interest of many viewers that probably had never even bought a UFC PPV B4 but they knew who he was and they were drawn in. He generated more PPV buys than ne 1 else as Rece Rock pointed out. He promoted the fight with his trash talk and ppl bought in to it and were definitely pissed off at themselves when they saw how EZ Couture finished him. The bottom line though is who sells the most tickets & PPV’s and sadly enough it’s not always the best fighters.

  • Mad_Hatter_XX says:

    For 500k I would let Couture beat the shit outta me and choke me out in under 4 minutes.Where do I sign?

  • BillyWarhol says:

    thass Pathetic + Disgusting + an Insult to the other REAL MMA Fighters on the Card!! I can’t believe Seasoned Vets like Joe Lauzon + Nate Diaz were being paid paltry sums like $12 Grand + $30 Bones – thank heavens they had Wins + SOTN or FOTN Bonuses.

  • Dufresne says:

    Pay isn’t based on your level of talent, they’re based on how you affect sales. Lesnar was contracted for $400k in his first fight in the UFC while sporting a record of 1-0.

    Because he brought in millions of new fans.

    Toney got $500k because he brought in millions of boxing fans, who by the way have the reputation for being more rabid fans than just about any sport.

    It sucks for the guys on the low end of the scale, because the vast majority of them just don’t have the names or recognition to get on shows like Sports Soup, SportsCenter, and the countless other shows Toney went on to help build this fight. But that’s how it is.

  • MCM says:

    Anyone else shocked by Lauzon only getting 12K? You think he would have negotiated a better deal by now. Maybe now that he had a dominating performance on a card viewed by thousands of new views (thanks Toney 😉 ), he’ll renegotiate something closer to what he deserves.

  • LiverPunch says:

    Wrong. I know he made sales, I know, I know. It is still wrong.

  • Dr.Stoppage says:

    Even worse than Toney-
    Gabe Ruediger – $8,000?

    Now THAT’S alot of chocolate cake.

  • LiverPunch says:

    By the way , I’m not sure how accurate it is but Lesnar made $400,000 for the Carwin fight and Fedor made $400,000 for the Werdum fight and they are 2 of the best the sport has seen. Toney is a joke , lets be honest here and he made more?. Life is not fair.

  • Creature says:

    “Toney is a joke , lets be honest here and he made more?. Life is not fair”


  • Paulo says:

    500K was actually pretty cheap for Toney. You guys have o understand he put plenty of NEW butts in the seats and a lot of new customers to purchase a pay per view. He drew a ton of interest for the fight and he brought in a new market. There were probably tons of boxing fans who crossed over and paid for a UFC event for the first time. If a small percentage of this new market continues to purchase UFC events in the future, it will be the best 500K the UFC ever spent.

  • Rece Rock says:

    Hey Liver Punch after the PPV buys % and the a % of the live gate Brock took home closer to $1M sucka… Fedor wishes, but once again you gotta Bring in the viewership to make the cash.

  • Rece Rock says:

    There are UNDISCLOSED salaries and back end %’s that we do not know about and is not public info… ZUFFA LLC is a private co. soooooo when we comment on salaries maybe we should know what the fuck we are talking about…. Let’s be serious we know the fighters are not going to go out there and risk health and mind to go get a few bucks…I think you guys thinking the fighters are that dumb is a bigger insult than anything else….

  • Guthookd says:

    danw84 says:

    “Quit with the “it’s a business” comments as if you’re some sort of business expert.”

    I have a business degree and I still say FUCK JAMES TONEY!

  • MCM says:

    just food for thought,

    If Randy Couture were to take his golden gloves and enter Boxing, do you think he would make more than the 3k to 5K that most boxers get? Even though he is just stepping into the ring and hasn’t put the years into boxing the way most of the younger guys did. He is still a world champion at his sport and brings with him a ton of fans, wouldn’t that count for something.

    Do I think it’s fair to the other fighters, no. Do I understand why an org would pay out so much for a fighter, yes. Did it help the sport of MMA, only time will tell but I’d venture to say it did.

  • Rece Rock says:

    Agreed MCM, that’s a good way to look at this…

    and I agree it’s not fair… last I checked most things in life aren’t.

    Randy would def. get more than a few thousand to do it because his managment could prove his drawing power in PPV simliar to Brocks managment gettting him big bucks for his first fight in the UFC… he could prove his drawing power and previous buy rate stats fairly easily thus warranting a big paycheck. It is what it is…why we are so concerned like it’s coming out of our pockets is beyond me.

  • danw84 says:

    Toney brought a ton of viewers, true, but did he bring anyone that’s going to stay?

    If that fight brought in a ton of new fans who will now be buying PPVs and going to events, then fine, $500,000 is acceptable because in the end, more fans = more money = higher salaries for all the fighters.

    I just question whether or not this fight turned people into fans, or soured some people against MMA for what was a pointless fight that, while exciting for us to watch how handily Couture had his way with Toney because we knew it would happen, may have made potential fans think “this is stupid and boring, they don’t even hit each other.”

    I hope it’s not the case. Bringing in new viewers or not, I think it’s pathetic that Dana White agreed “Yes James, you are worth half a million dollars.”

  • Rece Rock says:

    “Toney brought a ton of viewers, true, but did he bring anyone that’s going to stay?”

    Well that would be a relevant question if he was ever going to fight with the UFC again which he is not so who cares?… He got his check and the UFC got there profit… Case closed. If fans he brought in stick around that’s an added bonus. He got a hefty check for helping make them alot of money…. Why is this a difficult concept?

  • danw84 says:

    Ugh, I don’t get why you can’t seem to grasp what I’m saying. There really isn’t anything to argue here I guess.

    Whether the UFC is nothing more business or not, Dana White just said fuck you to every fighter who has dedicated their lives to getting into the UFC by rewarding heavily exactly what he constantly attacks other promotions for doing.

    Good for him he made a ton of money, and reinforced how much of a hypocrite he is.

  • danw84 says:

    Keep in mind that just for getting choked out in the first round of his first ever MMA fight, James Toney was paid over 10 times as much as the UFC’s lightweight champion was paid for defending his title.

    What does this imply that Dana thinks is more important?

  • danw84 says:

    Sorry thinking of something else, 5 times as much.

  • Rece Rock says:

    I can tell you He is thinking cash rules every thing around me… I totally understand the concern of lowering the morale of the average fighter but let’s be serious this is a business of physical combat we are going out on a limb being concerned about morals and feelings?!? Take it to Dr. Phil.

  • king mah mah says:

    Thumbs up to danw84, thumbs down to Rece Rock.

    Both of you had a valid arguement, but at the end of the day you have to think long term.

    Dana has always talked shit about other orgs putting on freak shows. He would give this huge speech about how he cared so much about this sport and how he’s worked so hard to get the sport to where it’s at today. But when push came to shove, he sold out just like the rest of them. Putting on the biggest freak show in MMA history and paying a big chunk of change for it too.

    I get that it is a business, but you can’t preach like that and then go back on everything you SAID you stood for………Or can you?!………………..Rece?

  • Rece Rock says:

    King mah at the end of the day Dana put on freak show fights ( Kimbo, Toney) that had FIGHTERS in the fights… Kimbo who had to go through TUF to get a shot is a street fighter ( not a real skill but the guy technically was throwing down for a living) and Toney is a pro boxer whom currently holds a HW title… They aren’t ex football players who fought a guy with no experience for an easy win…Zuffa doesn’t take interest in ex baseball players to make news either…. Toney was his own marketing machine the Zuffa marketing for toney was light in comparision to there usually build ups.

    Never fear once Lashely and Batista collide the title for the biggest Freak show this side of Japan will be crowned.


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