Ryan Bader scoffs at disclosed Bellator 290 pay, says he makes ‘8, 9 times more’ than he did in UFC



Bellator 214
Photo by Hans Gutknecht/MediaNews Group/Los Angeles Daily News via Getty Images

Ryan Bader is doing quite well for himself as the Bellator heavyweight champion, much better than his disclosed pay would indicate in his most recent title defense.

Bader finished the now retired Fedor Emelianenko in the first round of the main event this past Saturday at Bellator 290 to retain his championship. Following the event, the California State Athletic Commission disclosed fighter pay for the event to MMA Fighting, which revealed that Bader made $150,000 for the title fight on CBS, while Emelianenko made $100,000.

While those who have been around the sport for a long time are aware of how fighter pay works in these circumstances, for those who are newer to the space, those numbers may seem a little low. That’s because it is, and it doesn’t paint the entire picture.

“No, I made significantly more,” Bader said on The MMA Hour. “You get that a lot. They’ll release that and people are like, ‘Fedor only made $100,000 for this fight?’ No. I wouldn’t be fighting if I was making that.

“This is a job for me and I’m making the kind of money where it’s hard to walk away from — to walk in a cage at our level, and how good we are, and leave that money on the table. The bigger players, in there, the champions, that kind of stuff, it’s disclosed pay, but Bellator treats us very, very well and I know they treat Fedor even better.”

The 39-year-old Bader signed with Bellator in 2017 after a 20-fight run with the UFC. Since joining the promotion, “Darth” has captured titles in both the heavyweight and light heavyweight divisions, even holding both belts simultaneously for a stretch of time.

Bader has seen both sides of the coin for fighter pay when it comes to the UFC and Bellator, and is quite sure he made the right decision moving over to the latter when he did as he’s much more financially secure.

“Oh yeah, like eight, nine times more [than the UFC paid me],” Bader explained. “Look, we know they put out those numbers, and it’s the same with the UFC, but Bellator takes care of us. I’ve never been happier.

“I love the vibe over there. The people there, I’ve gotten to know them since 2017 and I have nothing but great things to say about them since and I never regretted it one time coming over.”

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