The salaries of MMA athletes are not set by any one governing body. Instead, fighters are paid according to agreements between individual promotions and the fighters themselves. The result is that many mixed martial arts fighters operate as independent contractors, responsible solely for gathering their own sponsorships.
How much do Mixed Martial Arts fighters make per fight? Well, there are a number of different factors in play here that can influence how much an MMA fighter is paid per fight. Some of these may include:
There has been plenty of speculation about what some top UFC stars earn in terms of their contract pay-packets but very few people actually know exactly how much they make in winnings per fight. ItÂ’s no surprise that the biggest names in the sport make an awful lot of money. Here is a look at how much you could expect to be paid if you were a star in the UFC today.
According to an article published in 2007 by Nevada newspaper, Las Vegas Sun journalist Kevin Iole, Brock Lesnar was reported to have earned $400,000 from his unanimous decision over Heath Herring at UFC 87, which he followed up with a submission victory over Randy Couture for the UFC heavyweight title. This means that Lesnar’s average fight payout so far has been around $400,000 per bout. The same article claims that Fedor Emelianenko, considered by many as one of the greatest MMA fighters of all and currently signed with Strikeforce, has made an estimated $300,000 per fight. In comparison, Mike Tyson was offered $20M for a fight.
However, these are the top of the pile. The challenge for many of today’s young MMA fighters is to make enough money from their careers to support themselves after retiring from the sport. This means that most will have another job or career on the side whether it be in teaching or sports coaching. Many companies are now recruiting professional MMA fighters as motivational speakers and because of their exposure on TV, they can often command a substantial fee for doing so. To lower-level fighters who work part-time at gyms and do not receive sponsorship such as gambling makers like NinjaCasino, making enough money within three years to become self-sufficient can be difficult so this route is certainly way worth exploring unless you just want to fight for fun.
Another article states that Chuck Liddell, Tito Ortiz, and Rampage Jackson are also in the $400K range.
The salaries of Mixed Martial Arts fighters can vary greatly, depending on several different factors. For instance, a fighter in the UFC may make significantly more money than his or her counterpart in Bellator MMA or World Series of Fighting. However, it is important to note that the overall payouts for top-tier fighters still remain relatively low when compared with other professional sports leagues. Regardless of which organization they sign with, most MMA fighters will never come close to making millions of dollars per year like many NFL players do. The average annual salary for an MMA athlete is estimated to be around $24,000 per year.
It’s interesting to note that many Mixed Martial Arts athletes do not earn nearly as much money as one might expect. Of course, there are some top-earners such as Brock Lesnar and Georges St. Pierre who can make $400,000 per fight, but the average payout is only around $48,000. One theory for this low number comes from managers who claim that most fighters give all or nearly all of their earnings back to their gym or camp in order to help cover coaching and training expenses. This means that on an individual fight basis, a fighter will more than likely make less money than what we see reported on Sherdog’s Fight Finder data tool which lists total career earnings.
As great as it would be to fight full time and make a living as a high-level Mixed Martial Arts athlete or boxing, it’s important for young fighters to have goals outside the ring. For most athletes, this will include some kind of college degree which can hopefully help them develop a career after they retire from the sport.
How is MMA different from boxing?
Boxing and Mixed Martial Arts (MMA) share many similarities such as the use of fists, hands and also feet. However, there are also some distinct differences between both sports.
Boxing has been around for centuries. The sport has evolved over time to what it is today with key changes occurring in particular during the 20th century through the addition of judges, referees, gloves and new rules.
The modern-day boxing stance involves a square-up which involves facing your opponent square on where all punches come from over the front shoulder that is opposite to your lead hand. Boxers stand their ground often rooted to one spot waiting for an opening or for their opponent to attack first before they counter strike back again either with jabs or power punches.
Boxing is purely based on punches where the only way to win a fight is by either catching your opponent with a knockout punch (KO) or forcing him/her to submit via pain, exhaustion or technical knock-out.
MMA involves various martial art disciplines which include kickboxing, jiu-jitsu and wrestling. These are all techniques that boxers would traditionally not learn but they are now more commonly practised due to this crossover between the two sports. Fighters will also utilize many of these moves in order to get an upper hand over their opponents, whether it be standing up or being taken down to the ground.
For those who are trying to calculate how much money they need to support themselves during their fighting careers, one study has suggested that $1 million is the magic number. This sum could allow an MMA fighter to train day in and day out while still managing to pay his or her bills (food, rent, etc.) by working part-time at gyms or sports coaching.