In another chapter to the saga that is the UFC’s salary structure, Tim Sylvia posted some news on his forum regarding his contract situation, Brock Lesnar’s pay, and what he may do in the future:
“i have one fight left on my contract i want to stay with the ufc but i am going to go were the money is right now Brock is making more m0ney then me that has to change i have a better name then him and i am a better fighter then him, i case u didn’t know my manager runs m1 so i have a pretty good in so we will see what happens in the next few months.”
There are a couple of things that are intriguing about this quote and bring up some issues for the UFC. First and foremost, their salaries are coming under fire from another big name heavyweight. Lesnar is making substantially more money than Sylvia, but he’s also a much bigger draw in terms of getting fans to crossover from wrestling to MMA. Sylvia, however, has the bigger name in MMA and the record to back it up.
Secondly, does the UFC even want to keep Tim Sylvia around? Sure, he’s been successful, but at what price are they willing to pay a relatively boring fighter who really isn’t as exciting as he used to be?
These are both issues that have come up in regards to other fighters, but the bigger issue is that of the salary structure. Obviously, Sylvia won’t make $250,000 a fight like Lesnar for fighting in the same manner that he currently is using in the cage. Dana White certainly wants him to push the pace more and finish bigger names. Sylvia is going to most likely want more money, a large amount more for his status in the heavyweight division. The UFC won’t want to give it to him. Get ready for some heated quotes in the future.
Sylvia also doesn’t have the drawing power of nearly any of the big names at the top of the division. Lesnar is getting paid for his drawing power. Couture draws buys, but Sylvia, Nogueira, Mir, and other heavyweights don’t produce big numbers. Matching up Mir vs. Sylvia or other potential rivalry matchups may solve that problem, but it won’t produce the numbers that we could expect from fighters like Liddell or Couture.
The UFC is basing their pay not just on record and that’s where Sylvia’s thinking is flawed. The bigger paydays rely on drawing power, performance, excitement, and the abilities to get fans excited about seeing a fight. Sylvia has next to none of those abilities.
With those factors being the basis for pay in the UFC, we could begin to see some higher skilled fighters move away from the UFC. Lesnar making such big money for producing bigger PPV numbers could leave other fighters wanting more. Arlovski’s situation may be the epitome of that problem. Crocop is also a mystery, Couture is done with the UFC, and Fedor is in M-1, it’s definitely a possibility that more Heavyweights from the UFC will move elsewhere.
That possibility can also send the UFC into a spending spree as well. They may end up throwing more money at heavyweights in order to keep them in the UFC.
One thing is for certain, Sylvia is definitely thinking about leaving, but Dana will have to throw some more money at him even though he hasn’t been particularly exciting in any of his last few fights. Will Dana strive to keep him? We think so, but other organizations may have more lucrative deals to offer.