Most Professional Mixed Martial Art fighters start from humble beginnings but once they set their foot at the door, how much do they make? Unlike boxing, Mixed Martial Arts as a sport is fairly new and pales in comparison in terms of longevity but MMA is a fast-growing sport with a growing number of fans around the world. There are various channels where an established MMA fighter can improve their income, from endorsements deals like customized MMA shorts, professional annual salary from their respective organizations, and, fight day purse. Is it enough? Let’s dive in and find out, how much money professional MMA fighters make.
Here are the indicators of a fighter’s possible earnings:
- Fight record
- Capacity to fight in a year
There are a handful of successful MMA organizations that have been gaining traction on a global scale. The most successful one is the Ultimate Fighting Championship or UFC.
If an aspiring MMA fighter gets signed under this organization one can say they finally made it but it does not necessarily equate to a high-paying salary grade right away.
Here are the UFC tiers to categorize the fighter’s salary;
- Low - between $10,000 to $30,000
- Medium - ranging from $80,000 to $250,000
- High - between $500,000 to $3,000,000
The fighters usually sign a contract that is binding for a certain number of fights with a fixed amount every time they fight in the octagon. Essentially, the fighter’s performance and popularity are the most important indicators of the payout with a chance of bonuses depending on the result of the fight.
The highest-paid MMA fighter is Conor Mcgregor with an estimated career earnings of $20,120,000, not including Pay-per-view earnings and other endorsements.
His larger-than-life attitude and showmanship have helped him achieve his superstardom level making him one of the most sought-after fighters of all time.
The current sponsor for the fighter’s gear such as MMA shorts, rash guards, MMA gloves, etc. is Venum. MMA fighters earn from this sponsorship through the tiering system as well.
- Fighters with 1-3 bouts earn $4,000 per appearance
- Fighters with 4-5 bouts earn $4,500 per appearance
- Fighters with 6-10 bouts earn $6,000 per appearance
- Fighters with 11-15 bouts earn $11,000 per appearance
- Fighters with 16-20 bouts earn $16,000 per appearance
- Fighters with 21-more bouts earn $21,000 per appearance
The base figure for bonuses is $50,000 for “fight of the night” or “performance of the night” to encourage fighters to perform an exciting bout. The bonuses are awarded at the discretion of the organization.
Most MMA fighters are still struggling to get the support that they need in order to perform their best during their fights. It’s not cheap to become a fighter, there are a lot of costs to become a champion such as training camps, nutritionists, physical therapists, and more. It’s not an easy road and most fighters still have 9 to 5 jobs to sustain themselves.
It takes a certain amount of courage to do MMA fighting as a career without the certainty of what lies ahead. These fighters are truly remarkable to be able to make it in a very volatile industry.