How Much Money do MMA Fighters Make?

How much money do MMA fighters make? For such a short and simple question, you might be surprised to learn that the answer is a bit more complicated. With the explosion of popularity in MMA thanks to fighters like Conor McGregor over the past few years, the pay has substantially risen. Although there is still a significant wage gap from the highest to the lowest paid in organisations like the UFC. This is actually an implication from the rise of some of the top stars in the sport.

There are many problems in the MMA industry that many casual fans don?t know about. For newer fighters, they don?t have the big agents that rookie players in the NFL and NBA have. Which means they don?t have the same advantages in negotiations as these other sports stars do. They also don?t have a ?fighters association? or union that many other professional sports have, which is helpful to the fighters when dealing with fighters rights and other financial negotiations.

How much money did MMA fighters make in 2018? There were 187 MMA fighters in the UFC who earned six-figure salaries in 2018, although 37% of MMA fighters in the UFC made less than the $45,000 median U.S average household income. The median income for a MMA fighter in the UFC was $68,500 in 2018 and the average income of all UFC fighters was $138,250. This average is heavily swayed by top earners (outliers) such as Conor McGregor.

How much money a UFC fighter makes all depends on how many UFC fights they?ve had previously, how popular they are as a fighter, and how often they fight every year. Fighters like Conor McGregor don?t have to live paycheck to paycheck anymore, however, some UFC fighters still struggle to make ends meet if they?re new to professional fighting.

How do MMA Fighters Make Money?

There are many ways a professional MMA fighter can make money, there are also endorsement opportunities for the top fighters and sponsorship opportunities (outside of the Reebok sponsorship that we?ll talk about later). However, many of these endorsement opportunities are reserved for only the best of the best. For example, Stipe Miocic has a popular Modelo commercial that has been running non-stop recently, and other popular fighters such as Cody Garbrandt are sponsored by BodyArmor.

187 fighters (33% of the UFC) earned six-figures in 2018. To put this into perspective, the average household income in the U.S. is around $45,000 per year, yet over a third of the UFC?s fighters (213 fighters ? 37%) made less than the average American household in 2018. However, these numbers continue to increase as the popularity of MMA increases.

The UFC signed a 5 year deal with ESPN to broadcast tons of UFC events every year on ESPN and ESPN?s streaming platform ESPN+. This ESPN deal (beginning in January 2019) was absolutely groundbreaking for the UFC and all of MMA. The popularity of MMA will continue to rise, I believe the ESPN deal with the UFC is just the beginning.


So you?re telling me MMA fighters make money from fighting? If this answer wasn?t obvious enough already we are here to confirm that yes, this is the number one source of income for MMA fighters. To break it down for you we?re going to talk about the average ?fighting salary? that fighters made in the cage, from the best to the worst.

The average UFC fighter made $138,250 in 2018,?up from an average earnings of $132,109 in 2017. Fighters such as Conor McGregor or Jon Jones make much more than the company average, usually earning millions of dollars each fight after PPV earnings and sponsorship. Conor McGregor, in particular, has a lucrative deal with the UFC which involves his Whiskey brand ?Proper Twelve,? in which the Proper Twelve logo will be on the octagon for every UFC event that he?s competing in.

  • The average household income in the U.S. is around $45,000 per year, yet over a third of the UFC?s fighters (213 fighters ? 37%) made less than the average American household in 2018. I guess sometimes it doesn?t pay to get punched and kicked in the face.
  • Only 187 fighters in the UFC are currently earning six-figure salaries. This looks extremely bad when compared to the NFL rookie salary minimum of $450,000.
  • 15 men and women wore UFC championship belts (including interim) in 2018, and they earned an average of $783,400 (up from $666,643 in 2017) . This can also be contributed to the rise in interim belts.
  • The highest earning non-UFC champion in 2018 was Conor McGregor, who pulled in an astonishing $3,030,000 (this was only base salary for the fight, PPV split and Sponsorships were believed to have been an upwards of $50 million).

It is worth noting that these are only the reported salaries plus Fight of the Night, Knockout of the Night and Submission of the Night bonuses that have been made public, along with Reebok payouts which came into effect with UFC 189.?