A mystery behind how much martial artists earn per combat worries numerous MMA admirers. Some claim that a pro-artist can easily score a six-figure sum for a single fight. Others argue that this amount is much lower after fees. Experts also divide their opinions. They admit that it’s wrong to evaluate all fighters by the same criteria as there is a scale that determines the fighters’ level and status.
Before counting the MMA stars’ income, let’s take an inside look at how the MMA fighting has changed over the last decade.
- Martial arts have roots from ancient Greece. Greeks applied the MA techniques for the army’s training. At those times, fights were much more brutal and bloody than we used to witness now. There were no established restrictions considering the weight criteria for fighters or rules related to the forbidden dirty blows.
- The up-to-date MMA fights are more civilized, yet no less exciting to watch. It’s no longer the savage cage fights, but well-organized combats of skilled and trained athletes. The rules are now stricter (no eye-gouging or biting allowed). In 2001, UFC, a global organization that promotes MMA events, introduced time limits per fight and weight criteria for artists.
- MMA techniques are also more diverse and complex. Current fighters apply different tactics and work on their unique fighting styles to stay out of the grey mass. At the beginning of 2013, females were allowed to participate in combat.
How much MMA stars earn per combat?
Anyone can easily find out the annual income of the NFL or NBA biggest stars, as this data is available in the open web access. Things are more complicated with MMA combatants. We don’t mean that this info is hidden under several locks, but there are still some factors to consider when calculating the fighters’ earnings.
Nowadays, several huge portals rank MMA participants. The most reputable is the Fight Matrix. The company provides various rankings on its platform, including the annual top fighters lists and revenue statistics.
Reports say that average combatants make around $35,000 per fight. However, the world knows MMA stars with a multi-million revenue, like the eminent Conor McGregor. So, how do things work for real behind the MMA doors?
Several aspects may affect artists’ earnings per fight. First, it’s their pro-level. MMA rookies should not count to get six-figure remuneration. There is a long road to pass before starters may grow to second-tier combatants (around $25,000 per a fight), and even much longer before they rise to MMA gurus ($500,000 and more).
Martial artists can boost their status even after one successful fight. Of course, it’s not so easy to get out of the crowd, as rookies compete with other no-name fighters at first. Still, those who show fantastic results or apply the unique tactics will get to the next level, where they confront MMA pros.
Finally, another essential factor that affects the contenders’ salary is the event significance. In other words, the overall hype around the fight boosts fans’ engagement and stimulates people’s interest in each participant. Thus, the more views an event has – the more money the combatants get.
However, fans often forget that MMA stars pay fees from their combat earnings. Decades ago, old-time cage fighters didn’t bother themselves with taxation. Current battlers are obliged to pay fees on their total earnings.
The most highly-paid martial artists
According to the UFC statistics, the most highly-paid MMA stars in 2020 are:
McGregor is reported to make millions per each combat. For instance, his fight against Floyd Mayweather brought Conor around $75M. The Irish star has gained worldwide fame due to his numerous successful collaborations with sports companies and multi-million advertising deals. Conor takes the 53rd place in the Forbes’ 2020 celebrity earnings list. His reported last-year net worth is $110M.
Currently, the Dutch combatant has more than 60 fights in his baggage. The average scale of Alistair’s per-a-fight earnings reaches around $900,000. Overeem makes the top-5 rank of the UFC heavyweight fighters.
The Russian combatant deserves his place in the MMA legends’ chronicle. Khabib holds the titles of the Combat Sambo champ and UFC champ in the lightweight division. Nurmagomedov’s reported net worth in 2020 equals around $30M. His approximate single-fight profit reaches $1M.
Silva started his professional MMA fighter career in Brazil, and then moved to the US. Since his childhood, the Brazilian combatant practiced in capoeira and taekwondo. The star’s net worth is not that huge as McGregor’s (about $8M). Anderson’s reported salary per combat reaches $850,000.
Bisping started his career as a sports commentator and actor. In 2004, he made a career twist to become the UFC martial artist. Michael holds the title of the former UFC champ in the middleweight division. The UK star’s estimated net worth in 2020 equals $9M, and his earnings per combat reach $1.1M.
Additional sources of income for MMA stars
It will be weird to suggest that MMA stars don’t have additional income sources besides fights. The most widespread ways to earn hard coin for MMA combatants are:
Many eminent fighters sign deals with leading companies operating in the sports, food, and entertainment fields. For instance, the legendary Conor McGregor participated in the promo campaign for such a recognized brand as Burger King. Conor is also the ambassador of the notable sportsbook company Parimatch.
It is also called sponsorship. Some companies endorse fighters and help them build successful careers on the MMA Olympus. In their turn, combatants participate in the brands’ ad campaigns and promote them on their social media channels.
Bonuses and rewards
It’s not a secret that MMA stars receive bonuses and rewards if they show outstanding performance. There are special bonuses established by the UFC that reach $50,000 per event. Best battlers also get rewards in different categories, like best fighter, best night performance, etc.
According to the WorldBookmakers’ experts, people’s engagement in MMA fights will only increase in the upcoming years. Multiple sites already accept bets on MMA events, allowing fans to earn stable cash on their favorites. Moreover, users can check the latest statistics and get a full schedule of the pre-planned MMA events in advance to evaluate the fighters’ chances.
Skeptics may say that martial artists earn too much, considering their six-figure net worth. However, they forget that each combat bears the risk of severe injuries to battlers. Besides, fighters need to train days and nights and learn different tactics to master their skills and succeed in this niche. After all, they do it for a good reason – to engage fans by breathtaking martial arts performances.