Ryan Bader hits back at reported payout against Fedor Emelianenko at Bellator 290: “I wouldn’t be fighting if I was making that”

By Josh Evanoff - February 6, 2023

Bellator heavyweight champion Ryan Bader made much more than reported on Saturday night.

Ryan Bader, Scott Coker, Fedor Emelianenko, Bellator 214

‘Darth’ returned over the weekend at Bellator 290 against Fedor Emelianenko. The bout was actually a rematch of their prior clash in the finals of the Bellator heavyweight Grand Prix. In that January 2019 outing, Bader won by first-round knockout.

Over four years later, the result was the same, as the Russian again lost by first-round stoppage. Following the defeat, Emelianenko retired, capping off one of the greatest careers in MMA history. It’s because of that success that fans were confused when payouts were released.

California is one of the few states that release payouts for MMA events and did the same for Bellator 290. According to a report they released, Bader made $150,000 for the one round of action, while Emelianenko made $100,000. Given that the two were fighting for the heavyweight championship, the numbers seemed a bit low.

Luckily, fans don’t need to be concerned about Ryan Bader’s payout. The Bellator heavyweight champion discussed his purse during a recent appearance on The MMA Hour alongside Ariel Helwani. There, he made it clear he made much more than reported.

Ryan Bader

(via Bellator MMA)

“No, I made significantly more,” Bader said on The MMA Hour. “You get that a lot. They’ll release that and people are like, ‘Fedor only made $100,000 for this fight?’ No. I wouldn’t be fighting if I was making that. This is a job for me and I’m making the kind of money where it’s hard to walk away from — to walk in a cage at our level, and how good we are, and leave that money on the table. The bigger players, in there, the champions, that kind of stuff, it’s disclosed pay, but Bellator treats us very, very well and I know they treat Fedor even better.” (h/t MMA Fighting)

He continued, “Oh yeah, [I’ve made] like eight, nine times more [than the UFC paid me]. Look, we know they put out those numbers, and it’s the same with the UFC, but Bellator takes care of us. I’ve never been happier. I love the vibe over there. The people there, I’ve gotten to know them since 2017 and I have nothing but great things to say about them since and I never regretted it one time coming over.”

What do you make of these comments? Who do you want to see Ryan Bader fight next? Did you enjoy Bellator 290? Sound off in the comment section below PENN Nation!


Bellator Fedor Emelianenko Ryan Bader