How much fighters earn has always been a source of interest for fans of MMA, but it’s not always easy to find out exactly how much they are taking how per fight.
What we do know is their base salaries (see the list of top UFC salary earners from 2009 here) which are announced following each UFC event and range anywhere from $3,000 – $500,000 depending on the fighter. Additionally some of the promotion’s biggest stars also take home a cut of the pay-per-view sales, though the exact details are not disclosed.
The other side of a fighters income which often make up a large portion of their per-fight earnings but which is rarely revealed is derived from their sponsorship deals.
This side of the business has often been shrouded in mystery, but the good news that MMA agent Malki Kawa, who manages Jon Jones amongst others, has offered a rough estimate of what fighter’s are earning from sponsorship in a new interview with WatchKalibRun.
Below we will note the major figures that came from the discussion, the main focus of which was the UFC, though Strikeforce and Bellator were also mentioned.
Unaired Prelim Fighters:
$10,000 – $15,000, but can double that if their fight airs on the broadcast which acts as an incentive for fighters to pull of quick and preferably spectacular finishes to increase their chances of being shown.
Spike TV Fighters:
Spike TV’s prelim specials air two fights live and that can be a major financial boost for those chosen, with Kawa estimating that they earn $30,000+ in sponsorship deals for such a bout.
Pay-Per-View Main Card:
$30,000 – $50,000 is the expected ballpark figures for a ‘non-star’ featuring on a UFC main card during a PPV event, but can increase if he is appearing on either co-main or main event slot.
Pay-Per-View Main Event:
Main event status is of course every fighters goal, but it’s mainly reserved for the UFC’s biggest stars who can expect to earn a six figure sum for sponsorship, with figures varying dependent on the fighter.
Fighters on a Strikeforce main card should expect to earn between $15,000 – $30,000 with main event competitors likely to earn more dependent on their star power.
Most fighters earn less than $5,000 per fight from sponsors. Others better known names pull in closer to $10,000, with champions claiming $10,000+.
Interesting stuff I’m sure you’ll agree. Of course it should be stressed that this is just from Malki Kawa’s own experience so there’s still room for movement in all these figures dependent on the individual fighters and their agents.