MONDAY NEWS DIGEST 4/15: 4 UFC 236 main eventers barely clear $1 million in combined salary, Whittaker sees holes in Adesanya’s game, while Jones-Adesanya war of words continues

By Michael Hiscoe, Managing Editor

Apr 13, 2019; Atlanta, GA, USA; (Editors Note: Graphic Content) Max Holloway (red gloves) fights Dustin Poirier (blue gloves) during UFC 236 at State Farm Arena. Poirier won by unanimous decision. Mandatory Credit: John David Mercer-USA TODAY Sports

UFC 236 fighter pay

UFC 236 was a satisfying night for fight fans. Both main events, even with the stench of interim titles hanging around, exceeded expectations. Israel Adesanya and Kelvin Gastelum presented what will likely be one of the top fights we see this year, and Max Holloway and Dustin Poirier brutalized each other for 25 minutes in a fight that was exceptional in its own right.

It was also UFC’s first pay-per-view event on ESPN+, where the promotion gets guaranteed money from ESPN rather than being completely at the mercy of fan purchases.

With all of that taken into account, the four main event fighters on UFC 236 combined for $1.1 million in pay for the two interim title fights. The breakdown sees Adesanya and Holloway take home $350,000 each, Poirier made $250,000 for his big win while Gastelum walks away with $150,000 in a losing effort.

All four men received $50,000 Fight of the Night bonuses in addition to their purses.

The disclosure of these salaries has incensed many fans and observers who feel that UFC should be in a position to pay fighters better, particularly after such stellar performances. The sad reality is that until fighters can organize themselves and form an association or union that will collectively bargain for better pay and conditions for fighters, UFC is going to pay as little as they feel they can get away with.

Not impressed with your performance

Robert Whittaker was a very interested observer of the UFC 236 interim middleweight title fight between Israel Adesanya and Kelvin Gastelum. Adesanya took a unanimous decision win to presumably set up a clash with Whittaker for later in the year. Whittaker though, did not see much in Adesanya’s performance that worries him.

“If you watch the fight you can see the holes that were there from every fight before, they just got exposed bigger,” Whittaker told Ariel Helwani on his ESPN talk show. “There were holes and there were a lot of things Gastelum exploited, and there were a lot of things Gastelum could’ve exploited but couldn’t because of his makeup, because of his striking style, because of his height, his reach.”

Whittaker, whose hernia injury before UFC 234 lead to the interim title fight on the weekend, thinks that the physical advantages he has that Gastelum didn’t well help him get the win when he gets in the cage with Adesanya.

“Gastelum was getting in,” he said. “Gastelum was landing his left. I’ll get in, I’ll land my right. I’m much faster than Gastelum, I’m a better striker. Israel should be very worried. I’m a very hard fight.”

Dana White said post-fight that UFC is looking to book the fight for a stadium show in Australia, perhaps in September. Adesanya has expressed interest in taking some time off after a very busy year and a half. Whenever and wherever the fight happens, Whittaker will be ready to go to war.

“We’re going to see each other in the octagon and go leather for leather. And if he beats me, he beats me. Good on him. He would’ve earned his place, but I’m going to do everything in my power to make it not happen.”

Monday Notebook

-Israel Adesanya had some harsh words for “c*nt” Jon Jones after the two have been going back and forth through the media in the past week, telling Luke Thomas on “The MMA Hour” that “He’s a c*nt and I say that because he’s picking the time when I’m supposed to get the most shine to come at me because he’s irrelevant. No one really cares about him. I’m everything he wished he was, I’m everything he wished he would have been.”

-Ryan Scope has pulled out of his Bellator Birmingham fight with Derek Campos due to injury.

In case you missed it

ROUNDTABLE: Was Adesanya vs. Gastelum Fight of the Year? Where does it rank all-time?

FREE PODCAST 4/15 – PWTorch Dailycast – MMA Talk for Pro Wrestling Fans: Vallejos, Grocke, and McGrath review UFC 236, discuss the first night of UFC PPV on ESPN+, TJ Dillashaw’s EPO failure, more (94 min)

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