After putting on one of the best title bouts in the UFC’s history defending champion Weili Zhang earned a split decision over Joanna Jedrzejczyk at UFC 248. The champions pay was reported at $200,000.
Zhang was paid what she was contracted and she signed her contract with whatever leverage she had at the time. Realistically not much. This has seismically shifted now.
According to a guest on the Ramsey Dewey podcast the UFC’s Chinese Broadcaster (PPTV) paid somewhere in the neighborhood of $7million for annual rights to UFC events in China. In anticipation of Zhang’s bout at UFC 248 PPTV raked in $57.5 million from new subscribers.
According to TJ on the Ramsey Dewey podcast Chinese broadcaster PPTV paid the UFC 7 million USD for the annual rights to UFC events in China and made 57.5 million USD from subscribers for just UFC 248 who wanted to see Weili Zhang. 4:55 mark https://t.co/ogmEJrRpTT
— John S. Nash (@heynottheface) March 10, 2020
If these numbers are true her leverage is perhaps the biggest in the sports history. The UFC will be in an enviable position when rights renewal negotiations come up for Chinese broadcasting. Zhang is the catalyst for this leverage.
Zhang is in a position to demand a massive new contract. The message is simple and should be a move right out of the Conor McGregor playbook. Not “My contract is bad I want more money” but rather “If I don’t fight you will lose countless millions. So tear it up and pay me right!”
I look forward to seeing how Zhang and her management team leverage this new found strength over a massive market.