How Much Does An MMA Fighter Make?
MMA fighters have one of the most dangerous jobs in sports. Their salaries vary immensely based on the organization the MMA fighter is fighting in. There are two central organizations in MMA that pay athletes for fighting: UFC and Bellator. Below, we examine the average salary of an MMA fighter overall, and break down salaries across the two major MMA leagues.
MMA Fighter Salary
In the United States, MMA fighters make an average salary of about $64,000 a year. The average range of salary for a year is $19,910 to $187,200. Pay disparity in MMA depends on the organization the fighter fights for, as well as how advanced in their career the fighter is. The fighters who land the largest fight purses are massive public draws and are able to sell out arenas and other venues.
The MMA organization UFC (Ultimate Fighting Championship) has been criticized by fighters and the public for their low pay. There are shortcomings in pay for unknown MMA fighters. Because of the extreme nature of the sport, athletes can only fight every so often, which limits the base pay for most. If a fighter is injured, they cannot make a living fighting, and it is very easy to get injured in MMA.
UFC Fighter Salary
The UFC, or the Ultimate Fighting Championship, is the most popular MMA organization in the world. UFC fighters make the majority of their money through their fighting contracts. These contracts typically consist of the fighter being paid a fixed amount for every fight they participate in. On average, UFC fighters fight two to three times per year.
There are three tiers of UFC fighter pay. The lowest tier of UFC fighter pay is for up-and-coming fighters that the company deems need to prove themselves in the octagon. These lower-tier fighters make about $10,000 to $30,000 per fight. Middle-tier fighters or fighters who are established but have a smaller public appeal make a range of $80,000 to $250,000 per fight. In the upper tier (fighters who are not only talented and established but also have large fanbases), athletes can make about $500,000 to $3 million per fight.
Bellator MMA Fighter Salary
Bellator is the second-largest mixed martial arts organization in the world. Bellator fighter pay is based on more of a fighter-to-fighter basis. The minimum amount a fighter makes for a single fight is $1,500. The upper echelon of fighters in Bellator makes about $100,000 to $300,000 per fight. Unlike UFC, Bellator does not do pay-per-view events. This limits fighters from receiving the extremely large purses some UFC fighters receive.
How much do MMA fighters make on average?
On average, MMA fighters make about $64,000 per year. This number varies based on whether the fighter is fighting in an organization. Even if the fighter is in the UFC, they must make a name for themselves to get paid at the sport's top. Most UFC fighters do not make exorbitant amounts of money.
Do MMA fighters have a base salary?
Much of the risk associated with becoming an MMA fighter is that there is no base salary. Fighters only get paid on a per-fight basis. Even fighters in major organizations such as UFC or Bellator MMA do not have a direct base salary. Another risk associated with being an MMA fighter is that if you are injured, you cannot work. This is in addition to the extremely dangerous nature of the sport itself.