If not for the extremely controversial finish in last Saturday’s Manny Pacquiao vs. Juan Manuel Marquez showdown, comparisons between it and the UFC on FOX event that aired on the same evening would probably be more prevalent.
With MMA undeniably growing in popularity over the last few years, many have taken to claiming that it has unseated boxing as the combat sport of choice for fans. Boxing traditionalists dispute this notion by pointing out that headlining boxing matches dwarf any and all major UFC events in every measurable statistical category. New school MMA fans, on the flip side, point out that in terms of overall popularity (not just the top-tier brand name guys), their sport rules supreme.
It’s a debate, ultimately, that can go on forever.
Last Saturday, Pacquiao emerged victorious from his bout against Marquez after 12 grueling rounds, and Junior Dos Santos beat down Cain Velasquez in just over a minute.
How did their respective paychecks look?
Well, according to MMA Mania, Pacquiao received somewhere in the $22 million range for his troubles. Dos Santos? Nowhere near that total. The same report noted that he brought in $220,000 – ten percent of what his fellow November 12 victor banked.
To be fair, there are a lot of variables in play here. Pacquiao vs. Marquez III was billed as the final chapter to an epic legacy, UFC on FOX was not. Pacquiao vs. Marquez III featured the biggest name in the sport as one of the combatants, UFC on FOX did not. Pacquiao vs. Marquez III cost upwards of $50 a screening, UFC on Fox did not (it was free).
Clearly, you can’t exactly make a one-to-one comparison between boxing and MMA given those circumstances.
Still, the sheer size of the disparity is a pretty solid indicator of where things currently stand financially in the two most renowned combat sports around. Even if UFC on FOX had been a PPV event, and even if it did feature the biggest and brightest names, the winner of the main event undoubtedly would have earned much less than Pacquiao anyway.
How long will boxing’s big money dominance last?
Only time can tell.