Fightlinker makes a good point here:
The UFC is paying PRIDE guys based on their perceived rankings ... Shogun, CroCop, and Wanderlei were all signed and paid mega bucks based not on their drawing power but on the idea that they were three of the top fighters in the world. This is lucky for them because the average Joe six pack has never seen a PRIDE event and often times never heard of these people. It's very interesting that the UFC decided to base their pay on talent-level ... it shows a certain respect for the sport that I don't think was noticed by many people.
But this is also where the UFC is getting into trouble - UFC fighters see these guys with little to no draw coming in and making 10 times what they are. It's understandable that some friction is created, especially when these mega-buck fighters end up getting tooled by TUF alumni (who are in turn being tooled by serf-like contracts).
Did Dana play himself not so much by having the asshole meter set at 11 but instead because he's too big of an mma mark? Those of us on teh internets might have been overranking the PRIDE fighters, but Dana literally bought into the hype -- to the tune of millions.