Marloes Coenen Makes 10K in Title Defense: Are Female Fighters Underpaid?

Darren WongSenior Analyst IMarch 8, 2011

It seems that whenever Strikeforce or Bellator release their fighter salaries, some MMA communist is there to complain about how unfair it is that the women get paid so much less than men.

According to the officially released payouts, Dan Henderson made $250,000 for taking Rafael Cavalcante's belt, while Marloes Coenen made $10,000 by defending her own title..

Contrary to reactions of outrage, be they knee-jerk, feminist, egalitarian, or simply uninformed, female fighters aren't being underpaid, at least in relation to their male counterparts.

There are many reasons why some fighters get paid more than others, but in the end, it all comes down to how well those fighters can make the promotion money.

Georges St-Pierre deserves every penny of his million-dollar paychecks when he pretty much single-handedly sells out the Rogers Center for an $11 million gate.

Aside from Gina Carano and Cris Cyborg, there isn't a female fighter who is even a moderately decent draw.

People didn't fork out money for last weekend's Strikeforce event to see Marloes Coenen. For the most part, they came to see Dan Henderson, or otherwise, just to see some Strikeforce fights regardless of who was fighting.

Last July, Strikeforce's then-champion Sarah Kaufman complained about not getting equal treatment in the buildup to her fight with Roxanne Modafferi. Many critics were inclined to agree with Kaufman after she knocked out Modafferi with a slam.

However, those with a slightly longer memory could look back just a single fight to Kaufman's abysmally boring outing against Takayo Hashi and see exactly why nobody was looking forward to Kaufman's fight.

And it's really that simple.

I don't care about arguments as to whether the level of skill in female MMA is the same as it is at the top of men's MMA, because I've seen female fighters who can strike better than Diego Sanchez and can grapple better than Quinton Jackson.

I couldn't care less about the real fact that even the top female fighters haven't racked up achievements on nearly the same level as their male counterparts.

If female fighters want to make the big bucks, there's one simple way to do it: Put on great fights on a consistent basis that make fans want to pay to see you fight.

Do that, and the money will come be there by the time your current contract has expired.

Until then, complaints about inequality in MMA are nothing more than Utopian garbage.