Purse information from UFC 132 once again highlighted the disparity in pay between guys like Tito Ortiz and Wanderlei Silva compared to bantamweight headliners Dominick Cruz and Urijah Faber. Some of the disparity results from Ortiz and Silva being PPV stars. Some of it is a product of Cruz and Faber likely having their WEC contracts carried over after the assimilation into the UFC.
But there's also the issue of Silva and Ortiz both having 50+ pounds on their bantamweight counterparts.
Floyd Mayweather Jr. and Manny Pacquiao may have established themselves as the biggest money makers in boxing, but in the UFC, according to guaranteed base pay, the more you weigh, the more you get paid.
The follow table includes data from every UFC pay-per-view show in states that report purse information, all the way back to UFC 73. The numbers represent base pay only. No win bonuses. No fight night bonuses. And, obviously, no unreported bonuses or PPV percentages.
I eliminated bantam- and featherweights for obvious reasons. Max and min represent the highest and lowest figures in each weight class.
There's an obvious correlation as you move from lightweight to light heavyweight. Then the numbers dip at heavyweight. The intuitive explanation is that light heavyweight has been the UFC's marquee division historically, and the heavyweight division was a weak point in the company until the UFC signed the likes of Mirko Filipovic, Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira, and Brock Lesnar.
This is by no means a groundbreaking find; the results are predictable, but I've never seen the numbers laid out in this manner. I've got some other ideas in mind, though, so consider this a jumping-off point.