The UFC had a very difficult time locking down a main event for the UFC 230 card in New York City in early November. Eventually, however, the promotion convinced UFC heavyweight champion Daniel Cormier to make a short notice title defense against fearsome knockout artist Derrick Lewis on the card.
Daniel Cormier has never hid the fact that the UFC made it well worth his while to step in and fight Lewis in the short-notice UFC 230 main event.
“I didn’t think I was going to fight on this card, but the deal I got was so good,” Cormier told ESPN in October. “There was no way I could say no, honestly.”
While it’s always been clear that Daniel Cormier was paid a pretty penny to save this card, however, it’s never been clear just how much he pocketed for the event. Until now.
According to a report from Dave Meltzer of Wrestling Observer Newsletter (via Bloody Elbow), Cormier made a whopping $4 million to fight Derrick Lewis on short-notice at UFC 230. If that figure is accurate, it is one of the biggest paydays in UFC history.
The state of New York doesn’t disclose salaries for MMA cards, but we know that Cormier pocketed $500,000 for his July defeat of Stipe Miocic, $500,000 for his January win over Volkan Oezdemir, and $1 million for his July 2017 no-contest with Jon Jones (not including pay-per-view points). Whatever the case, it seems he got a massive raise to fight Derrick Lewis.
At present, it’s not clear when or even if Daniel Cormier will fight again. The reigning heavyweight champion has long planned to retire when he turns 40 in March, though UFC President Dana White has said he’d like the champion to delay his retirement plans.
This article first appeared on BJPENN.COM on 1/25/2019.