After the unfortunate outcome of the first match between Magomed Ankalaev and Johnny Walker at UFC 294, we will see them in the main event of UFC Fight Night 234. But how much will they earn for this rematch? Here is what we know about the Ankalaev vs Walker payouts.
UFC Fighter Pay: What Will Ankalaev vs Walker Be Paid at UFC Fight Night 234?
While this matchup is the main event of the first fight card in 2024, we do not anticipate huge purses. Neither of these fighters is among the top-paid athletes in the promotion and the only reason they would get an increase is the fact that they will headline this event.
As you all know, Ankalaev and Walker first met at UFC 294 in late October in one of the main card bouts. You probably also know how this match ended and the reason we are seeing a rematch just three months later.
The Russian hit Walker with an illegal knee strike while the fighters were engaged in a clinch in the very first round. The referee called a stop to the contest and shockingly declared it a no-contest instead of a disqualification. Fast forward three months and we are back at it again.
While these reports remain unconfirmed, it is said that both fighters earned over $100,000 as a base purse for their first clash. In particular, it has been said that Magomed Ankalaev was paid $150,000 while Walker earned $120,000 without the bonuses.
We expect to see similar numbers in the Ankalaev vs Walker payouts for this event. We struggle to find a good reason why they would get paid much more than that. This is a regular event, not a PPV, and it is unlikely that it will attract that much attention.
Our predictions are $200,000 for Magomed Ankalaev and $150,000 for Johnny Walker. We expect a slight increase only because this bout is the main event.
Keep in mind that these predictions are based on the limited information we have about their previous UFC payouts. When it comes to Johnny Walker, the information is incredibly scarce. The latest information from before UFC 294 was from three years ago when he was earning around $75,000 per match.
Given that he has not achieved much since then and he was allegedly promised $120,000 for the first match, we feel like $150,000 is a solid prediction.
As for Magomed Ankalaev, the $150,000 he allegedly earned was significantly less than the money he got from his match for the Vacant Light-Heavyweight Title against Jan Blachowicz. Past reports claim that he got paid $400,000 for that title match.
Of course, this was his biggest payday and it will not happen again unless he beats Johnny Walker and earns a new title shot. For now, he should be happy with the $150,000-200,000 he will get from this bout.
UFC Payouts: What the Rest of the Card Can Expect
Now that we discussed the Ankalaev vs Walker payouts, can we guess the correct purses for some of the other main card bouts?
Based on the limited information about the previous purses of Matheus Nicolau and Manel Kape, we envision around $75,000 for both fighters individually. We should mention that Nicolau is quite a unique figure in the UFC and we are not talking about his skills. He is one of a few fighters that get all their salaries in bitcoin. He has been doing this since the start of 2022.
Jim Miller is a legendary figure in the UFC as he is the fighter with the most fights and also wins in the promotion. He joined the promotion in 2008 and has fought a total of 42 times since then. Despite his admirable age, he continues to perform and allegedly earns between $150,000 and $200,000 per fight.
As for his opponent, we expect the sum to be far smaller. Gabriel Benitez has not fought since August 2022 and in general, he fought only three times in the last three years. We expect his purse to be below $100,000.
Ricky Simon lost his only bout in 2023 to Song Yadong and our sources suggest that he earned around $100,000 for his appearance. We expect something similar here, perhaps the traditional $86,000. There is no way that he will earn more after a defeat. As for his opponent, Mario Bautista, reports claim that he earned about $43,000 as base salary for his latest bout. Since he won, we believe that he got a better offer here and will bag $66,000.
With this said, this is about as much as we can tell you ahead of this card. Traditionally, these are mere predictions and the actual Ankalaev vs Walker payouts will be disclosed months after the event.