Daniel Cormier Reveals Dana White’s $1 Million Gift for First UFC Loss

Daniel Cormier, UFC

Getty Daniel Cormier celebrates his win by submission over Derrick Lewis in their heavyweight title bout at UFC 230.

Ex-UFC star Daniel Cormier has shared that he received a generous gift from UFC president Dana White for his first fight with Jon Jones.

The former two-division champion shared a heated rivalry with the former light heavyweight king, who ruled the division for many years between 2009 and 2019. Cormier first faced Jones in Las Vegas at UFC 182 in Jan. 2015.

Tensions were high from the start, and there was a clear sense of animosity between the pair. In the build-up to the event, an infamous brawl broke out when Cormier pushed Jones during a press tour in Aug. 2014.

Following a successful start in the UFC with a four-fight win streak, Cormier got his first main event as a title fight against his bitter rival Jones. “DC” would go on to lose the bout by a unanimous decision at UFC 182 in Las Vegas.

In an interview with “The Pivot,” Cormier revealed that White gave him a significant bonus the day after the fight, in addition to the comparatively meager sum of $50,000 he received for the Fight of the Night bout.

“Dana calls me two days later,” Cormier said. “‘Hey, man, you all killed it. Numbers are out of this world.’ He goes, ‘We’re gonna send you a million dollars.’ (This is) 2015.

“Dude sent me a million-dollar check next day, just because he said I did a great job.” (h/t MMA Junkie)


Cormier Would Have Only Made $80,000 in Earnings Had It Not Been for White’s Bonus

“DC” went further into the details of his contract at the time, which were also disclosed publicly. However, only the fight purse and performance bonuses used to be public information earlier and not any additional incentive an athlete may get.

“Back in 2015, I fought Jon Jones for the first time,” Cormier said. “We had this great build. And I was making $80,000 to show up and $80,000 to win. I lost. So I left that arena thinking, ‘All that, and I made $80,000.’

“And I made like $80,000 in sponsorship back when we could wear those patches on our shorts. So I was like, ‘Man, for all that, I’m gonna make $150,000. It’s crazy.”


Cormier Believes the UFC Tries To Protect the Athletes by Not Disclosing Full Earnings

Much has been made about the issue of fighter pay in MMA. It’s important to note that Cormier’s experience seven years ago was under different circumstances. Zuffa hadn’t sold the UFC for $4 billion, which it would go on to do the next year in 2016.

According to Cormier, the promotion would often hand out discretionary bonuses back then. Despite the lack of similar stories in recent times, it’s harder to figure out how much a fighter actually gets after each bout as the company doesn’t have any obligation to divulge the information.

“So, they try to protect the athlete a little bit by not showing exactly what you make,” Cormier explained. “… A lot of it is hidden. And you also make money on the pay-per-view side.

“So if you become a guy like Conor (McGregor), like Jones, like Izzy (Adesanya) – you start selling pay-per-views, man, you get $2 a buy, $3 a buy, $4 a buy. Then that money really starts to go.”

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