Company men? Leben and Carwin with different approaches

Steve Cofield
June 24, 2010

It's been an interesting week as far as fighters working with Zuffa, the parent company of both the UFC and WEC. Can anyone deny that Chris Leben is a company guy? The middleweight is just about to take part in his 16th UFC fight. That's a lot. But the real story is that he just fought on Saturday and is going to fight again next Saturday! Leben got the call from the bosses and agreed to step in for the injured Wanderlei Silva against Yoshihiro Akiyama at UFC 116.

Meanwhile, Shane Carwin is main eventing on that card, and publicly butted heads a this week with management. Carwin felt he needed to speak out when he heard that folks from the organization were stating they weren't happy with the prefight work he's put in from a media standpoint:

According to the Zuffa "Talking Heads" I am not doing my part to sell this fight. Let's talk about me selling this fight. I earned this fight. I was "given" my previous opportunity against Brock but this one I earned. I have never turned down a fight, I have never told Zuffa no, I have and always do a good job and for them.

Carwin also did something unusual by revealing his UFC 116 salary and that he wasn't due a pay-per-view bonus. That may not go over too well with the head honchos who like to keep the figures and details of contracts as quiet as possible.

Check out Yahoo! Sports' Kevin Iole with myself as we talk about the ramifications of working with or battling the bosses.

Carwin has a legit beef. On paper, he's due a maximum payday of $80,000 ($40,000 to show, $40,000) to win at UFC 116 against UFC heavyweight champ. He's fighting on a card that should easily surpass one million PPV buys and a live gate in excess of $3.5 million. Put that in perspective Chris Leben. Barely a top 10 UFC middleweight, he just made $70,000 (35 and 35) before bonuses. You come away saying either Carwin is getting screwed or he signed a bad contract.

That said, he certainly has the right to defend himself and express his opinion. You just wonder how his honesty and outspokenness will be received.