Chael Sonnen, bloody but unbowed during his title challenge against Anderson Silva at UFC 117. (Photo by Jon Kopaloff/Zuffa LLC/Zuffa LLC via Getty Images)
The total fighter salaries have been released for the participants of UFC 117 and the first thing that pops out at me is how much base salary Chael Sonnen made for his fight with Anderson Silva. For everything he did to sell this PPV and for how many buys it ended up doing he should have been paid more. I don't want to hear about locker room bonuses either because those may or may not exist depending on who you ask.
Sonnen's coach Matt Lindland addressed this on the Ring Psychology podcast and commented that he personally probably wouldn't have put so much effort into promoting a Pay Per View in which he had no financial participation but that, "Chael's just a company man."
He certainly is and I have to believe that Dana White and the UFC brass will amply reward Sonnen's performance at UFC 117 going forward.
Contrast this with UFC 116's heavyweight title challenger Shane Carwin. First he announced on twitter that he wouldn't be doing any media to promote the fight, then his management shopped a story to Bloody Elbow explaining that Carwin's stand had to do with his lack of a % of the PPV buys. They quickly back-tracked when Zuffa got pissed off and revised their no-media stand to "no media other than what the UFC requires". But even then, Carwin did a very unenthusiastic job of selling the fight. See his sullen and lethargic performance on ESPN SportsCenter.
Regardless of his motivations and the media politics of it all, the net effect was that Shane Carwin did the absolute bare minimum to sell his fight with Brock Lesnar at UFC 116. The contrast with Chael Sonnen couldn't be bigger.
Sonnen took the long view and was willing to risk being burned if his self-promotion back-fired. Now he stands to be in the UFC's good graces for the rest of his career. Carwin, not so much.
Sure Dana White is apparently being supportive of Carwin -- or so Carwin's manager tweets -- while the steroid lynch mob gathers outside his castle with torches and pitchforks, but I have to think in the long run that Dana White would rather push Chael Sonnen for a second UFC title shot than Shane Carwin.