UFC Fighters Get Paid Like Minor League Baseball Players (if you suck)
In preparation for UFC 101, we examine how much UFC fighters are actually paid for beating the crap out of their opponents in the Octogon. The myth is that UFC has gone mainstream and fighters are getting millions for each fight. This cannot be further from the truth as fighters are getting paid next to nothing.
On each of the final episode of “The Ultimate Fighter”, Dana White claims to offer a six figured salary for the winner. What no one knows is that there’s a big astrix next to the six figured salary and a fighter is not guaranteed that much money. As stated in MMA weekly in 2006:
“In the first year, the salary for each fight is $12,000 to fight and an additional $12,000 to win. Fighting income for the year would range from $36,000 to $72,000, depending on wins and losses. In the second year, it’s $16,000 and $16,000 per fight, meaning that fighting income for the year would range from $48,000 to $96,000. In the third year, it’s $22,000 and $22,000 per fight, meaning that fighting income for the year would range from $66,000 to $122,000.”
When you consider that these salaries are before deductions from insurance, taxes and licenses, it really isn’t a whole lot of money for training your butt off for 6 months of a year for one fight. Granted that fighters have sponsors that add to their compensation packages, those packages are only designated for the heavy hitters.
Consider UFC 100, here’s the breakdown of the salaries for some of the fights. It’s worth noting that the big guys like Brock Lesnar and George St. Pierre earns a portion of the income from the PPV, so they are set. But Frank Mir? He’s out of luck this time.
Brock Lesnar: $400,000 (no win bonus)
def. Frank Mir: $45,000 (Bring Obama to give him more money)
Georges St-Pierre: $400,000 ($200,000 win bonus)
def. Thiago Alves: $60,000 (This is a huge difference)
Dong Hyun Kim: $58,000 ($29,000 win bonus)
def. T.J. Grant: $5,000 (WTF? Is that even enough to cover the travel expenses)
The total payout for UFC 100 was around $1.8 million which is how much Rashard Lewis gets fined for testing positive for steroids. Are UFC fighters underpaid or NBA players overpaid? You decide.