SBD/Issue 36/Leagues & Governing Bodies

Cash Back: UFC Shows Books To Refute Couture's Money Claim

UFC Holds Press Conference
To Refute Couture's Claims
The UFC yesterday held a press conference "to refute some of [fighter Randy] Couture's recent claims regarding his compensation," according to Mike Chiappetta of NBCSports.com. UFC CFO John Mulkey said that in '07 Couture, who resigned from the organization earlier this month, earned about $2.9M in salary and bonuses. Couture received a $500,000 signing bonus, which "contradicts Couture's claim that he asked for but was denied a bonus when he re-negotiated his deal" prior to his March fight against Tim Sylvia. Lorenzo Fertitta -- co-Owner of UFC parent company Zuffa "who rarely speaks to the media" -- attended the press conference "to refute" Couture's claims. Fertitta, on Couture's contract: "He says now he wasn't happy with it, which I find surprising, because after we came to terms, we shook hands and hugged" (NBCSports.com, 10/30). Mulkey said that Couture grossed about $1.2M for UFC 68, another $1.1M for UFC 74, though the bonus from the PPV events "has yet to be paid" since UFC has not yet collected all the money from cable and satellite providers. Couture said that his bonus for UFC 68 was $500,000, yet the UFC has documentation that he cashed five separate checks totaling $924,000. In Houston, Steve Sievert wrote that "drills major holes in Couture's arguments about not being properly" compensated (CHRON.com, 10/30). In L.A., Lance Pugmire notes Couture claimed he "had not received a proper post-fight bonus" in August for defeating Gabriel Gonzaga, and "complained that he had heard" UFC planned to pay former Pride champion Fedor Emelianenko more than he was making.  Couture also earned $160,000 as a UFC commentator, and UFC President Dana White said Couture's total earnings are second to only Chuck Liddell among the 200 UFC fighters. White: "We pay our fighters very well" (L.A. TIMES, 10/31).

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