A run for their money

JOSE RODRIGUEZ

, Last Updated: 3:58 PM ET

On paper at least, it would seem the bidding war for fighters has been punched up to a new level.

Duelling cards last weekend pitting Affliction Fighting's inaugural pay-per-view against a free TV show put on by the Ultimate Fighting Championship shows very different paydays for the marquee athletes.

The payroll for the UFC event was pegged at $623,000 (all terms US), according to Nevada State Athletic Commission figures, while Affliction parted with more than $3.3 million in salaries at its card.

The most notable differences came in the pay of the main-event fighters.

Tim Sylvia, who lost his bid for the World Alliance of Mixed Martial Arts heavyweight belt to Fedor Emelianenko, made $800,000 in the mere 36 seconds he spent in the Affliction ring -- more than the entire UFC payroll for all 22 of its fighters that night. Emelianenko made $300,000 for the win.

In the UFC event, featuring middleweight champ Anderson "Spider" Silva moving up a weight class to take on light-heavyweight James Irvin, the purse was not nearly as rich.Silva made $200,000 for his win while Irvin made $20,000.

The story is much the same in the co-main events. Affliction's Andrei "The Pitbull"Arlovski made $750,000 for his disposal of former IFL heavyweight champ Ben Rothwell, who made $250,000.

UFC co-headliner Brandon "The Truth" Vera made $200,000 in his win over Reese Andy, who took home $15,000.

The UFC has come under fire in the past for not offering richer purses to its fighters. Former champ Randy "The Natural" Couture and Tito "Huntington Beach Bad Boy" Ortiz have been critical of UFC paydays in the past.

It should be noted, however, that athletic commission payday documents don't include endorsement pay and other bonuses handed out by fight clubs. And UFC president Dana White, for one, doesn't believe Affliction's big paydays are sustainable.

"I'm figuring after (last week's event) those guys are going out of business and all those (fighters) will be over here," he said at a post-fight press conference.

"They spent a lot of money and I know more about this business than they do. When you spend a lot of money and you don't get that money back, you usually go out of business."

But Affliction boss Tom Atencio has already unveiled plans for its next card and is taking the fight into the UFC's home turf. A card at the Las Vegas Thomas & Mack Center scheduled for Oct. 8 will pit Emelianenko against Arlovski.Atencio, who claims to have sold in excess of 100,000 pay-per-view buys for last week's event, told mmajunkie.com there will be some tweaking for the next card, though he wouldn't say whether that would include scaling back fighter pay.

In the battle for MMA supremacy, one thing is certain: With the two biggest fight clubs at each others' throats, the winners to this point seem to be the fighters and the fans.


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