“Everybody wins,” Dana White said today at the press conference to announce the merger of Zuffa’s two promotions, the UFC and WEC, and he’s not wrong.
The people who deserve the benefits of this deal the most though are the WEC’s fighter’s who have consistently put on some of best fights the sport has seen year-in, year-out.
It’s been difficult for many of these stars of the UFC’s little sister promotion to earn the kind of money that their talent and efforts deserve though. Smaller gates and no pay-per-view model means smaller salaries and bonuses.
That’s about to change though according to White.
“I assume so,” White confirmed at the press conference when asked whether the WEC’s fighter’s would now be better paid. “Bigger shows means bigger paydays.”
To put this into perspective, following the last WEC event, WEC 51 at the tail end of last month the fighter bonuses for Fight, Knockout And Submission Of The Night amounted to just $10,000 each. Compare that to the $70,000 enjoyed by the recipients of the same awards following UFC 121 last weekend.
Reigning WEC lightweight champion Benson Henderson took home $26,000 for his last win, while UFC lightweight champ Frankie Edgar earned just shy of six figures, $96,000, while former champ BJ Penn took home $150,000 despite losing.
Meanwhile at WEC 50 defending bantamweight champion Dominick Cruz pocketed just $22,000 including win bonus for his victory. That’s comparable with fighter’s on the undercard of the UFC 121 event.
Even the WEC’s biggest star Urijah Faber pocketed just $26,000 for his last fight at WEC 48, a loss to Jose Aldo. By contrast Brock Lesnar’s base salary is $400,000, and extends into the millions when PPV splits and sponsorship are added.
Not only will the fighters now be better paid, they’ll also receive better exposure. As White revealed recently the UFC is now shown in half a billion homes worldwide with plans in place to extend that to a billion, and now takes it show all over the world.
The WEC has always operated on a much smaller playing field. For instance the promotion has never ventured beyond the US and Canada, and key international territories such as the UK do not air WEC events live.
The increased exposure will allow the fighters to gain new fans and build a worldwide reputation while also profiting from the increased sponsorship opportunities that this will bring.
All in all it’s a very good day to be a WEC fighter, and if they bring the entertainment levels they are known for when they come to the UFC then they’ll be worth every penny they earn.