Earlier I explained why Shane Carwin might want to limit his media appearances in support of UFC 116. After all, his opponent Brock Lesnar will reap huge financial rewards while he will be guaranteed only $50,000. While concentrating completely on Brock Lesnar may seem like the smart move, disregarding media responsibilities before the biggest fight of your career may come back to haunt you in several major ways.
1. The Bonus Check
Some of Carwin's training partners like former light heavyweight champion Rashad Evans have been admitted to an exclusive club: the PPV bonus club. These fighters make a variable amount per buy. The contracts are each different. Many of the more recent contracts call for flat amounts over a certain number rather than a scale, such as $4 for every buy over 600,000.
The UFC believes fighters have to earn these PPV percentages. Evans was featured on Spike TV's The Ultimate Fighter twice and was the former undisputed champion. To Zuffa, Carwin isn't there yet and he won't get a PPV cut. What he will likely get, if he plays ball, is a post-fight bonus. Every UFC main eventer in the post-TUF era has gotten a significant bonus after the fight. The amounts vary dramatically, but a huge performance on a big card can yield bonuses worth several hundred thousand. None of this money is guaranteed though, and it pays to keep Zuffa happy.
2. The Fabricio Werdum Factor
Fighters all want that big money contract. Your athletic peak is short and your chances to make money slim. It makes some sense to push for everything you can as fast as you can. But sometimes, that can be dangerous. If your contract is bigger than your performances, that can lead to real problems. If you lose fights you will be gone. The case study for this was Fabricio Werdum. After big wins over Gabriel Gonzaga and Brandon Vera, Werdum saw himself on the path to the championship and he renegotiated a new five fight contract. When he lost to Junior Dos Santos and lost his spot at the top of the pecking order he was cut. There is no room in the UFC for an overpaid and underperforming star. Sometimes it's safer to wait on the big contract until you are established with the fans and it is harder for the promotion to watch you walk away.
3. Dana White
Dana White can be a fighter's best friend or a implacable foe. If he senses you playing games with his baby, you are in trouble. White holds a grudge. Legends like Frank Shamrock, Pat Miletich, and John McCarthy have all felt his wrath. So have media outlets like Sherdog.com and reporters like Josh Gross. That's a group you don't want to be a member of if you are looking for Zuffa pay days.
Carwin will do his part to sell this show. What the UFC asks for, he will deliver. But he doesn't want to talk to you for your blog. And your one man camcorder interview is out the window. Carwin will deliver big media while he's on the biggest stage. After all, there are three reasons above that say he has to do so.