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UFC Didn't Pay Randy Couture Enough

Although mixed martial arts has nearly closed the gap on boxing in terms of popularity and pay per view buys in the United States, UFC fighters don't make anywhere close to the kind of money that boxers make.

And the most popular UFC fighter, heavyweight champion Randy Couture, says that even within the pay structure of UFC, he was woefully underpaid by UFC president Dana White.

"I think the final straw for me was meeting with Dana and Lorenzo (Fertitta, UFC co-owner) where they claimed I was the No. 2 paid athlete in the organization, which I know is a bold-faced lie," Couture said. Polling other athletes, said Couture, he learned that his compensation -- some $250,000 a fight with pay-per-view bonuses, according to the Couture camp -- was nowhere near what other top UFC fighters were making.

One of the reasons mixed martial arts has grown in popularity while boxing has declined is that MMA has a governing body -- UFC -- that's only interested in putting together the best fights, while boxing is more or less run by the boxers themselves, and they're looking for the biggest payday, not the best fight.

But having said that, paying Couture $250,000 a fight -- even if those pay-per-view bonuses were substantial -- is absurd. Couture's presence can convince hundreds of thousands of people to spend $40 apiece on pay per view, and he ought to be paid accordingly.