UFC 294 was in danger of being a huge anticlimax after Charles Oliveria and Paulo Costa pulled out weeks before the event. But it proved a tremendous success, thanks largely to Alexander Volkanovski and Kamaru Usman stepping up on short notice to rescue the main event and co-main event. All four of the top-billed fighters earned their career-highest paychecks at the recently concluded spectacle.
As per reports, Lightweight Champion Islam Makhachev topped the list with a sizeable $4.2 million salary, including bonuses and pay-per-view points. This included a ‘Performance of the Night’ bonus for his highlight-reel head-kick knockout of Alexander Volkanovski in the first round. This dwarfs his previous highest paycheck of $1,492,000 that he received after defeating Volkanovski at UFC 284.
Khamzat Chimaev earned the third-highest paycheck of the night with an estimated $2.85 million, including pay-per-view points and bonuses. This is more than double the previous highest paycheck of $100,6000 he received for his fight against Kevin Holland at UFC 272. Former Welterweight Champion Kamaru Usman banked $2.4 million, including bonuses and pay-per-view points, for his gutsy effort against Chimaev.
Though Volkanovski lost his fight, the same cannot be said of his bank account. The Featherweight Champion hauled in the second-biggest cheque of the night, a not-to-be-sneezed at $3.3 million, including pay-per-view points and bonuses. With this payday, the former concreter broke into the top 15 highest-paid Australian athletes in 2023.
Said Nurmagomedov and Muhammad Mokaev also earned career-high paychecks at UFC 294
UFC 294 proved to be an exhibition of Dagestani dominance, with exciting bantamweight Said Nurmagomedov and undefeated flyweight Muhammed Mokaev earning career-high paychecks as well. Nurmagomedov took home $195,000 for his first-round submission of Tajikistani fighter Muin Gafurov. This included a ‘Performance of the Night” bonus of $50,000.
23-year-old Muhammad Mokaev made an impressive comeback to submit veteran and former title challenger Tim Elliott. Tim used his wrestling to stay ahead on the scorecards until the third round when Mokaev made a spectacular transition that led to an arm-triangle choke. Mokaev made $160,000, including a ‘Performance of the Night’ bonus. Elliott earned the fifth-highest paycheck of the event with $116,000.
UFC 294 estimated salaries (including all bonuses and PPV points) pic.twitter.com/38JfIs60wO
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Middleweight contender Ikram Aliskerov knocked out Warlley Alves with a jaw-dropping flying knee in the first round of their fight. Reportedly, he was paid $80,000, which included a ‘Performance of the Night’ bonus for his thrilling finish. Warlley Alves stepped in on short notice because Aliskerov’s original opponent, Nassourdine Imavov, could not get a visa in time.
Sharabutdin ‘Bullet’ Magomedov made his highly anticipated UFC debut against Brazilian veteran Bruno Silva in the opening fight of the early prelims. The Dagestani, who is partially blind in his right eye, won the competitive bout via Unanimous Decision. His maiden UFC paycheck was $34,000, which included a win bonus and a fee from the UFC’s apparel sponsor, Venum.