Are UFC Fighters Finally Getting Paid What They are Worth?

When you rise to the top of your craft and can split a $400+ million fight purse like Conor McGregor, and Floyd Mayweather did in 2017, life is good. The hard part about that is the beatings taken along the way in bouts that paid out as little as $200 (or less) on undercards in minor league promotions. 

The good news is that UFC fighters finally look to be getting purses that reflect the years of dedication and training it took to get to this point. MMA and boxing predictions are getting tougher to make because of the stakes on the line for each fighter. 

On average, UFC purses have increased 15% annually since 2015. That’s definitely a positive sign, but when you consider the physical toll that mixed martial artists put their bodies through, that price boost may actually be on the low side. At the end of the day, is it worth it to devote a career in MMA, even for the top-tier fighters? 

Mama, Don’t Let Your Babies Grow Up to Be Fighters

It’s nice that UFC purse numbers have risen consistently over the past five years, but just in context, Premier League players still make up to 20X more. That number is a bit misleading, considering fighters might only take the octagon twice a year, but there is still non-stop training and an entire team to pay as well. 

Players in the Premier League earn an average of £7.8million a year while participating in nearly 40 matches. The UFC pays, on average, £401,000 annually, but in what equates to just 1.5 fights. Not only that, non-title fights last just 17 minutes if they go the distance (three rounds of five minutes with two one-minute breaks), so that’s really not a bad rate. 

It definitely pays to be the winning fighter because even in a first-round TKO loss and getting paid for just 30 seconds of work, that’s the type of punishment that shortens a career and limits earning potential. 

There is definitely a lot of training involved to be a Premier League player, just like there is to be a UFC fighter. It might be professional golf that somebody should really get into as they, on average, earned $1,485,055 in 2021 while not getting punched in the face or having extremely vigorous cardiovascular training. 

Different Contract Tiers in the UFC 

By the time a man or woman even reaches the lowest tier of the UFC ($10,000 to $30,000 per bout), they already have numerous years of MMA fights under their belt. The faster a person can get to the big time, the more they can make, so in this way, MMA is very similar to Major League Baseball, where a player may toil in the minor leagues for years before breaking into the MLB in their mid-20s. 

It’s really important to impress early in a new promotion and come through for bettors in boxing predictions tonight to start working up to the mid-tier contracts. Bigger fights can command $80,000 to $120,000 in the UFC, while headliners can make $500,000 to $3 million or more per bout. 

Conor McGregor earned a $5 million base pay for his fight with Dustin Poirier at UFC 257, but that number was said to climb to $20 million once PPV buys were taken into consideration. 

Ronda Rousey earned a $3 million payout at UFC 207 even though she was knocked out in just 48 seconds by Amanda Nunes. Nunes made just $200,000 for her efforts, so it’s not always wise to make MMA and boxing picks based just on who is the higher-paid fighter. 

Fighters may think they are still underpaid, and they very well could be, but at least it’s been a solid improvement since the $50,000 payout that the winner of the 8-man tournament in UFC 1 took home. 


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