On Saturday, Bellator heavyweight champion Ryan Bader made much more money than was reported by the athletic commission.
He returned over the weekend to face Fedor Emelianenko at Bellator 290. This was the rematch to their January 2019 bout in the finals of the Bellator heavyweight Grand Prix.
Four years following their first meeting, the Russian lost by first-round stoppage once again. After the defeat, Emelianenko retired, capping off one of the greatest careers in MMA history.
According to a report released by Bellator 290, Bader earned $150,000 for the one round of action, while Emelianenko made $100,000. California is one of the few states that release pay-outs for MMA events. The numbers seemed a bit low, given that the two were fighting for the heavyweight title.
California released disclosed purses for #Bellator290. 💰
Full story: https://t.co/5625KC0OmV pic.twitter.com/jj7vBU15OF
— MMA Junkie (@MMAJunkie) February 5, 2023
“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.”
He continued, “Oh yeah, [I’ve made] like eight, nine times more [than the UFC paid me]. 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.”