How much do UFC fighters get paid? Bonus, base pay, and more

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Nicolas Dalby vs. Gabriel Bonfim. Photo credit to Pedro Vilela/Zuffa LLC/Getty Images

UFC fighters who have just joined the company can make as little as $10,000 per fight, but on the flip side, fighters who have more tenure and have established themselves as great fighters can make as much as $3 million per fight.

I spent the whole day researching how much UFC fighters actually make since there is a lot of controversy surrounding fighter pay. I’ve researched commonly asked questions, and I’m looking to answer them in this article.

In this article, I’m going to break down exactly how much UFC fighters get paid, and I’ll be breaking it down by win rate, how popular the fighter is, and how that can impact their pay.

Different Pay Grades in the UFC 

Of course, there would be different pay levels for fighters depending on their popularity. A fighter with 500,000 followers on social media, compared to a fighter with only 5000 followers, would get a bigger payday since he attracts a larger fanbase and more PPV buys.

Low Tier

The low-tier fighters get paid from $10,000 up to $30,000 per fight. This pay is offered to fighters who are just having their first fight in the UFC. Once Dana White poaches a fighter from another promotion, he offers them the basic low-tier contract, but the opportunity of fighting in the UFC itself is worth the risk, even if the pay is small.

Their performance in their debut is very important and determines if the fighter can even stay in the UFC. They would get the money listed above as guaranteed but if their debut match did not go well, then in some cases, the UFC could let them go.

Middle Tier

Middle-tier fighters can earn anywhere from $80,000 to $250,000 per fight. A fighter negotiates a contract after accumulating a few wins in the UFC. The way the fighter wins their first couple of fights depends on how much they would be getting per fight.

For example, if a fighter has three wins by KO in each one compared to a fighter who won three fights via decision, then the fighter with the KO wins would get a contract closer to $250,000 and the latter would be closer to the $80,000 contract.

The popularity of the fighter depends on their contract. If a fighter trash talks at a high level and has emphatic wins, then they are more likely to get a bigger payday. Press conferences are the biggest platform to gain fans.

High Tier

High-tier fighters are paid between $500,000 and $3,000,000 per fight. This is normally given to the most popular fighters in the UFC. UFC champions are given the highest paydays, regardless of their division. No.1 ranked fighters and interim champions are getting this type of salary per fight.

A fighter can get paid the maximum amount if they are able to get a certain amount of PPV buys, but there are times when fighters can get paid more. This would stem from a highly successful press conference and a rivalry between the fighters.

How Much are the UFC Bonuses

A girl counting money – can UFC fighters actually make any decent income from bonuses?

The UFC bonuses can vary from fighter to fighter, but they are normally given to fighters who win their fights.

The Fight Win Bonus

Low-tier and middle-tier fighters are offered a win bonus. On top of their guaranteed payout, if a fighter is able to win their fight, they would get double what they would normally get regardless of how they won their fight.

To put into perspective, if a fighter was offered $80,000 for a fight but they went on to win their fight, they would get an additional $80,000 on top of that, which totals up to a total of $160,000, essentially doubling their payout.

PPV Bonus

High-tier fighters are not offered win bonuses, so you’re probably wondering what makes up for that, and it’s PPV bonuses. Fans who want to watch live UFC events have to buy PPV (pay per view), which is priced at roughly $79.99 (at the time of writing this). Fighters, namely champions who are fighting on the card, get a percentage of total PPV buys.

UFC hasn’t actually disclosed the PPV bonus or the percentage that UFC fighters get from it, but there is a substantial amount of money the fighter can take home.

To break it down, the most recent UFC pay-per-view event (Volkanovski vs. Islam 2) had a total of 700,000 buys. 700,000 buys multiplied by $80 is equal to $56,000,000. If Islam was offered just 10% of the PPV buys in his contract, then he would be taking home $5.6 million off of the PPV buys alone.

Fight of the Night and Performance of the Night Bonus

Two fighters are awarded $50,000 if they put on a spectacle. The fight has to captivate fans, but the bonus is guaranteed to two fighters who have the best fight of the night. The performance of the night bonus is given to two fighters who put on the best individual performance of the night.

The interesting thing about this bonus is that it isn’t just given to high-tier fighters; but low and middle-tier fighters can also get the $50,000 bonus. A low-tier fighter with an exceptional performance could see him make more with his bonus than their actual UFC guaranteed payout.

Endorsements

After gaining a social media presence, fighters can start promoting other companies products and, in return, receive a paycheck. Companies require fighters to promote their products on social media apps like Instagram and depending on how strong their fanbase is, they would get fans to purchase the company’s products.

Some UFC fighters can receive backlash for promoting some businesses since they are not always trustworthy, and it can hurt a fighter’s reputation, and they could lose popularity over it.

How Much Do UFC Fighters Get Paid for a Championship Fight

A championship fight is the main reason why people are buying the pay per view. Both fighters are given a percentage of PPV buys, so there is a lot of money to be made whether the fighters win or lose. It can be as little as $500,000 to more than $20,000,000. It really depends on the hype surrounding the fight and the marketing done before the event.

Do UFC Fighters Get Paid Even if They Lose

Yes, they still do. It doesn’t matter how the fighter loses the fight; they will still be guaranteed the money that was agreed upon in their contract. They would only lose the win bonus and miss out on making double what they would already make.

Who is the Richest UFC Fighter of All Time

Conor McGregor pictured before a bout. Photo credit to Stacy Revere/Getty Images

Conor McGregor. This shouldn’t be surprising since McGregor made a name for himself with his swagger and the ability to back up his trash talking (before his fight with Khabib). From just his fight payouts, he made $25 million alone. He made more than $100 million, including PPV bonuses.

McGregor’s net worth sits at more than $200 million right now, but the fact that he made more than $100 million from combat sports itself just shows the impact he had on the sport and how many new fans he brought in.

Final Thoughts

The pay for fighters can be better, especially for low-tier fighters, since it can be as low as $10,000. Fighters with some wins in their bag can make more money, which is a maximum of $250,000, and middle-tier fighters can still qualify for the win bonus. High-tier fighters can make up to $3 million and are by far paid fairly since they also get endorsements, etc.

The pay is still a lot better than some competitor organizations, and the pay can be in the millions for each fight so long as the fighter stays consistent. Be sure to check out who invented basketball.

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AUTHOR

Hi, This is Daniel's Sports Blog. I have been a Sports Fan for as long as I can remember and have grown up watching all types of sports including Basketball, Soccer, Football, Wrestling (WWE specifically), amongst many more! I have not only been watching sports but I have also been competing in a range of sports and I bring my skills and experiences to writing this blog so I can help other sports fanatics understand and appreciate the art of sports.

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