CM Punk’s time in the UFC brought a ton of attention to whatever he did in the cage. The eyes that Punk brought Dana White’s direction also created big pay days for the Second City Savior, and some people aren’t happy about it.
MMA Fighting reports that an unsealed copy of CM Punk’s contract within the ongoing lawsuit, it was revealed that CM Punk’s compensation from the UFC included a flat fee of $500,000. Additional earnings outlined in a separate letter of agreement, and a tiered pay-per-view bonus starting at 200,000 buys for his first fight and potential title defenses, were also noted.
“All the fighters know what other fighters are making,” White said. “They all talk. They all know. Even guys who say they don’t want their number out there, they tell.” He went on to further discuss details about the subject during the unsealed documentation of 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.”
Unlike top UFC stars who receive a flat “show” purse and share in pay-per-view profits, CM Punk’s deal reflected a unique structure. Obviously, with his name notoriety, Punk wanted to get paid.
The UFC is known for keeping money amounts close to the vest, so they didn’t like the fact that these numbers got out there. The ongoing antitrust lawsuit filed by a group of UFC veterans highlights fighter pay as a pivotal issue, asserting the promotion conspired to reduce pay, aiming to monopolize the elite MMA fighter market.
Unsealed documents reveal behind-the-scenes efforts by UFC executives, matchmakers like Joe Silva and Sean Shelby, and the Nevada Athletic Commission to manage public perception about fighter pay. The antitrust suit, which is potentially heading to trial in April, carries what could be a damages claim of over $1 billion if the fighters can prove the UFC violated the law.
CM Punk’s debut payday sparked widespread fighter outrage, with concerns raised about the contrast between his substantial earnings and the financial struggles of other fighters. Punk’s career in the cage was panned after that, as he never picked up a win, despite all of the hype around his name.
Notable names within the MMA community expressed discontent, pointing out the significant payday for Punk’s first MMA fight. However, it is also suggested that Punk’s actual earnings are far more than anything that is in this documentation, which would be far more than 1/2 a million dollars. It is estimated a higher take-home pay of $1,042,736 could have been a more realistic number, thanks to his bonus money.
Regardless of the controversy, CM Punk’s drawing power played a role in the success of UFC 203. They had a reported buyrate of 450,000 and generating $26,995,500. So, CM Punk’s pay would represent approximately 4% of the event’s earnings.
We will keep an eye on this story, and so many more, right here at Ringside News. You never know what will come out next, especially since so many members of the pro wrestling world have lived very complicated and extensive lives around the ring.
What’s your take on CM Punk’s take home pay from the UFC? Was he worth the money? Let us know what you think in the comments section!