News came out on Monday that CM Punk, who was completely dominated in his MMA debut at UFC 203, earned a disclosed $500,000 for the contest. While there has been mixed reactions to the purse, his opponent in Mickey Gall seems to not have any issues with it.
"No (I’m not bothered). It's cool. He's a superstar,” Gall said on an appearance at the MMA Hour. “There's a reason why he's there. Without him, I'm not in that spot, either. It's all good. I'm not mad at that."
"I think a lot of people were interested. It brought a lot of WWE fans to watch, a lot of guys who wouldn't have been watching,” he said. “I had a lot of people contact me to say, ‘I watched this fight for Punk and I'm an MMA fan now.' I think it worked. I think it was a smart move and I think it worked."
While Gall is completely fine with Punk earning half a million, several fighters were outraged at a newcomer earning that much. Here’s a few of the notable reactions from social media.
It's the whole blood/sweat equity system that's fucked. I have no problem with him https://t.co/SQo6TV6fC4— Alpha Cat Zingano (@CatZingano) September 13, 2016
wwe guy 500k Investment paid every1 but fighters 1 time. 500k could build entire fw division. Invest n wmma not the circus payday fighters— Cris Cyborg (@criscyborg) September 12, 2016
He leveraged his name and contacts for a 500k payday and created a false narrative to seem altruistic. Fuck him https://t.co/PqwfHtjW4K— Tom Lawlor (@FilthyTomLawlor) September 12, 2016
Didn't throw or land a single punch and still banks $500K.— #OnAmission4Gold (@KelvinGastelum) September 12, 2016
Also. CM Punk made more in his MMA/UFC debut than I have in my entire 9 year career? https://t.co/YCj8dbvB4o— Sean O'Connell (@realOCsports) September 12, 2016
CM Punk didn’t have the highest disclosed pay on the card, as Overeem and Miocic earned $800k and $600k respectively. That said, the former pro-wrestler probably also has a good cut of the pay-per-view buys, so that paycheck is likely to end up much bigger than the half a million they declared.
While I do understand why these established fighters aren’t happy about their pay and how an MMA newbie earned a lot more than them, there’s quite a few things to note here.
All these fighters certainly deserve to be paid more, but CM Punk and his paycheck had absolutely nothing to do with that. There’s no fixed salary fund for fighters that Punk stole from, and him earning $500,000 doesn’t mean that money would’ve been given to them (or to a new 145 lb female division) instead. Conversely, the UFC certainly didn’t just pay everyone else very little, for the sole purpose of being able to afford Punk’s price tag either.
The former WWE superstar drew a lot of eyeballs to him, and in turn, created a lot of revenue for the UFC as well. Considering what he brought to the table for this event, there’s even a good case to be made that he was significantly underpaid as well.
Fighters probably should negotiate or make their case to get a bigger piece of the pie, but it seems like a lot of the anger about Punk is quite misplaced, as none of their issues really relate to how much a former WWE star made last weekend.