Hello! Welcome to my article "How Much Money Do MMA Fighters Make?"
Mixed Martial Arts, commonly known as MMA, is becoming one of the most popular sports worldwide. It's gaining recognition in mainstream culture, attracting more viewers.
The major MMA promotions, like UFC, Bellator, and ONE Championship, draw billions of views annually, including a significant presence on social media.
This leads to the question: Why do people decide to train in MMA? Is it for the money? Is the financial reward worth the intense training? In this article, we'll answer the question of how much money MMA fighters actually make.
MMA Fighters' Source Of Income
Let's start by talking about how MMA fighters make money. Many people might think they only earn from their fights, but there are other sources like endorsements and sponsorships. However, only the top fighters usually get these opportunities.
Sponsors pay fighters bonuses to promote their products. For instance, the UFC is sponsored by companies like Modelo, Monster Energy, ESPN, and Venum. ONE Championship has sponsors like Xiaomi, JBL, Redbull, Tumi, and Logitech.
As MMA organizations become more popular, fighters are earning more. The UFC, for example, signed a 5-year contract with ESPN in 2019, which was a big deal.
They also made an exclusive partnership with Venum. ONE Championship recently teamed up with Amazon Prime to stream their shows and events.
MMA fighters can earn money through endorsements, which is like getting paid for being sponsored. Many different companies, not just in sports, pick MMA fighters to promote their products.
But it's a really good deal, so only the top-notch fighters get it. These fighters are either champions or really popular with the fans. For instance, Georges St. Pierre endorses Under Armour, and Khabib Nurmagomedov is sponsored by Reebok Russia.
MMA fighters make money not just from their fights but also from sponsorships, which are a big part of their income. Even the organizations that put on the fights need sponsors to make money.
In the past, UFC fighters, for example, had sponsors like Bud Light, while Bellator MMA fighters had sponsors like Miller Lite. Fighters used to earn a good amount from these sponsors until 2014 when the UFC made a deal with Reebok, which meant fighters couldn't have other sponsors. This led some fighters, like Rory Macdonald and Gegard Mousasi, to switch to promotions like Bellator MMA, where they could still have sponsors and earn more money.
Other organizations like ONE Championship also have various sponsors for their fighters. The UFC's deal with Reebok ended in 2021, and now they have a new deal with Venum.
The payment system with Venum is based on the number of fights a fighter has had, ranging from $4,000 to $21,000 per appearance. Champions and title challengers get additional bonuses.
Actual Pay Check From Fighting
UFC fighters mainly make money from their fights and the pay they get for each one. They sign a contract for a set number of fights, getting a fixed amount of money each time they compete in the Octagon.
There are three earning levels: low, medium, and high. The lowest tier pays between $10,000 and $30,000, while the top tier, reserved for champions and big stars, offers $500,000 to $3,000,000 per fight.
New fighters typically start with a contract in the lowest tier. As they win more and build a reputation, they can sign a better contract in the middle tier, paying between $80,000 and $250,000 per fight.
The amount a fighter gets depends on their popularity and recent performance, ranging from tens of thousands to a few hundred thousand dollars.
UFC Champions and popular fighters get the best contracts, called the highest Tier, which can range from $500,000 to $3,000,000 per fight. The more people watch them and support them, the more money they can make, up to half a million to three million dollars or even more per fight.
Both fighters, whether they win or not, get paid. Their base earnings depend on how many fans they have and the tier they're in. The winner also gets an extra prize, sometimes double their base pay, but usually, this bonus is for fighters in the first two tiers.
How Do MMA Fighters Get Paid?
In every match, both fighters get paid a basic salary, whether they win or lose. On top of that, there are extra rewards for the winners who do something special.
These bonuses, like Fight of the Night and Performance of the Night, are usually $50,000 and serve as big motivators to encourage the fighters to do their best.
In each fight, fighters get paid a basic salary no matter if they win or lose. Before every match, there's a contract for each fighter. Also, fighters with higher rankings or who are in demand generally get a higher basic salary.
Fight Night Bonuses
In the UFC and ONE Championship, they have something cool called Fight Night bonuses. It's like a reward for fighters who do awesome and get the crowd all pumped up.
If a fighter manages to make an amazing knockout or submission, they get an extra bonus called Performance of the Night, and it's usually $50,000.
Fighters who win matches receive bonuses. Some fighters may not be fans of this, but it's always good to get extra pay for your efforts, isn't it?
The Highest Paid MMA Fighters Of All Time
Over the years, the best of the best fighters have accumulated fortune to make their lives beyond comfortable. Here are the highest paid MMA fighters of all time (as of 2024), considering only the career earnings. This does not include PPV points or other bonuses.
1. Conor McGregor ($39,300,000)
2. Khabib Nurmagomedov ($22,900,000)
3. Alistair Overeem ($15,400,500)
4. Anderson Silva ($13,500,000)
5. Andrei Arlovski ($11,200,000)
6. Michael Bisping ($11,100,000)
7. Junior dos Santos ($11,000,000)
8. Georges St-Pierre ($10,950,000)
9. Jon Jones ($10,900,000)
10. Donald Cerrone ($10,600,000)
How Much Money Do Fighters Make
To make a lot of money in MMA, fighters need to put in a ton of hard work. If you're the best, you can get sponsorships and endorsements. However, most fighters don't make as much as new players in the NFL or NBA.
The money a fighter earns depends on how well they perform, win fights, and how popular they are. But I believe new fighters should get more credit because they work hard, taking kicks and punches to entertain us. Hats off to those guys!
That's the end of my article! Thanks for reading "How Much Money Do MMA Fighters Make?" Feel free to leave your questions or comments below!