MMA Rising Against Boxing Payouts

Since its first appearance in 1993 in Denver, Colorado, the growth of the UFC has been exponential. However, in recent years, the increase has been much more noticeable, becoming a business for top sponsors and industries and the fighters themselves. With this increase in popularity, fighters’ salaries have also increased in parallel. 

It should be noted that there are still no such exorbitant salaries as in other sports such as football, soccer, baseball, or basketball. However, fighters across multiple combat sports, especially in MMA, have gradually gained prominence in their corresponding fields to beat MMA odds and collect large payouts. 

MMA’s Recent Salary Growth 

To answer the question as to how much an MMA fighter earns, fans will need to look closely at some of the numbers that have been reported in previous years. According to various sources, a top mixed martial arts fighter can earn between $300,000 and $500,000 for the main event or a championship fight. 

Although the amount might vary if the fighter wins or loses, it is still a solid payout. In addition to the payout for the fight itself, a percentage must be added, and this is awarded to every fighter thanks to PPV rights and sponsors. For undercard fighters, their payout can amount to anywhere from $50,000 to $200,000, depending on the audience, venue, results, event, and additional factors.

Last year, the list of the best athletes on the planet was released, and Conor McGregor was already in the top 10. Under this category, the Irish fighter has been able to earn up to $1 million per fight, especially in the last events he featured in to pursue championships.  

UFC Versus Boxing

Leaving Conor McGregor aside and other top names, the story is different for fighters. Khabib Nurmagomédov, who finally decided not to accept the option to return to fighting and thus close his record at the round figure of $30 million and retire, is also an exception. The rest of Dana White’s fighters earn far less than any boxer with a name.

This last fact is easy to pin down. There are more promoters in the world of boxing than there are in the UFC, and this reduces the possibility for UFC fighters to negotiate higher payouts. In other words, if a boxer and promoter for a particular fight or event cannot agree on commercial terms, the fighter is aware that, eventually, another, more lucrative offer will come from somewhere else.

A boxer like Deontay Wilder could make around $30 million from a single fighting event. McGregor is the only UFC fighter that has come close to this, and it is also because he elevated himself to the status of a social phenomenon alongside Khabib himself or Georges St-Pierre. These elements also made it possible for a significant payoff.

In the world of UFC, fighters have a base salary and can add various bonuses. There is, for example, the bonus awarded for every victory. Higher bonuses can come from PPV punctures. It is also worth mentioning that bonuses are higher depending on the type of fight. 

The Payment Gap 

A rookie fighter in the UFC, without much experience and without having a television broadcast operation behind them, can earn anywhere between $10,000 and $16,000. To that amount, fighters can add another $4,000 for the sponsorship of sporting goods brands and others related to the UFC organization.

There are also bonuses for knocking out one’s rival or if one’s fight is known as the main event of the evening. That can lead to a $50,000 payout. If a fighter performs well, he or she can walk away with another $50,000, and whoever wins the fight can finish the night with about $120,000. Fighting for the championship belt can take that amount to a $500,000 bonus.

To check the differences between the UFC and boxing, one could take the fight between Jones and Cormier and the one between Fury and Wilder. In the first, the total bag was $16 million. In the boxing match, though, the total bag rose to over $30 million.


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