How Much Do UFC Fighters Get Paid? (Surprising Amount)

UFC fighters are often revered as modern-day gladiators, stepping into the Octagon to showcase their skills and entertain the masses. But what about the financial rewards that come with this high-stakes sport?

Prepare to be amazed as we uncover the surprising amount of money that UFC fighters can earn. From average earnings to the highest-paid fighters, we will delve into the payment structure and various factors that determine a fighter's paycheck.

Get ready to explore the financial landscape of the UFC and discover the earning potential for these elite athletes.

Key Takeaways

  • The average earnings of UFC fighters in 2021 were $160,000, including base pay, win bonuses, UFC bonuses, and fight week incentive pay.
  • The top 11 earners in 2021 made between $932,000 and $8 million (without PPV), while excluding them brought the average earnings down to $125,180.
  • UFC fighters are paid per fight, with an average pay of $53,333 per fight in 2021.
  • UFC bonuses include Performance of the Night, Fight of the Night, and Fan Bonus of the Night, with one fighter being able to earn all the bonuses and receive over $100,000 extra.

Average Earnings of UFC Fighters

The average earnings of UFC fighters have increased from $148,000 in 2020 to $160,000 in 2021, according to recent data. This rise in earnings reflects the growing popularity and profitability of the sport.

However, it's important to note that sponsorship deals also play a significant role in UFC fighter earnings. These deals can provide additional income through endorsements, branding, and advertising opportunities. The impact of sponsorship deals on fighter earnings can vary greatly, depending on factors such as the fighter's popularity, marketability, and success in the octagon.

Additionally, there's a notable disparity in earnings between male and female UFC fighters. While some female fighters have secured lucrative sponsorship deals, on average, male fighters tend to earn more due to higher demand and larger fan bases.

Highest-Paid UFC Fighters in 2021

Among the highest-paid UFC fighters in 2021, Kamaru Usman stood out as the top earner, raking in a staggering $2,024,000 for his three fights.

Usman's impressive earnings highlight the significant impact of Pay-Per-View (PPV) on fighter earnings. PPV points are reserved for champions and popular fighters, allowing them to earn a percentage of the revenue generated by the event.

This lucrative system has allowed top fighters like Usman to command substantial paydays. It's worth noting that the rankings of highest-paid UFC fighters in 2021 are dominated by champions and well-established stars who've built a strong following and have the ability to draw large audiences.

These fighters not only receive substantial base pay and win bonuses but also benefit from endorsements, sponsorships, and other income-generating opportunities outside of the UFC.

UFC Fighter Payment Structure

UFC fighters are compensated based on a payment structure that includes various factors such as base pay, win bonuses, UFC bonuses, and other sources of income. The negotiation process for fighter pay is typically handled between the fighter, their management team, and the UFC.

The payment structure operates on a tier system, with fighters being categorized as low, medium, or high tier based on their experience, popularity, and skill level. Base pay is determined by the fighter's tier, with higher-tier fighters earning a higher base pay.

Win bonuses are generally the same amount as the fighter's base payment and are awarded for a victory. UFC bonuses, such as Performance of the Night and Fight of the Night, provide additional opportunities for fighters to earn extra income based on their performance.

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Factors That Determine UFC Fighter Pay

Factors that determine UFC fighter pay include:

  • Base pay: determined by the fighter's tier, with higher-tier fighters earning more.
  • Win bonuses: typically equal to the fighter's base pay.
  • UFC bonuses: such as Performance of the Night and Fight of the Night, provide additional earnings.
  • PPV points: reserved for champions and popular fighters, these can significantly increase their pay.
  • Fight week incentive pay: based on the number of UFC fights a fighter has had.
  • Discretionary bonuses: given at the discretion of Dana White.
  • Miscellaneous pay: includes revenue from UFC NFT sales, merchandise sales, and the use of the fighter's name on other products.

Additionally, fighters can leverage their online following to increase their earnings outside of the UFC.

UFC Bonuses and Extra Payments

The UFC offers various bonuses and extra payments to fighters, enhancing their earnings beyond their base pay and win bonuses. These additional sources of income can significantly boost a fighter's overall pay and make a significant difference in their financial situation.

Here are some of the UFC bonuses and extra payments that fighters can receive:

  • Performance of the Night: $50,000 each paid to two individual fighters for the best performance of the night.
  • Fight of the Night: $50,000 each paid to the two fighters for the best fight of the card.
  • Fan Bonus of the Night: $60,000 worth of Bitcoin allocated to the three best fighters, as voted by the fans.
  • One fighter can earn all the bonuses on offer, earning over $100,000 extra.
  • Formerly, bonuses were paid via Submission of the Night and Knockout of the Night, but these were discontinued in 2014.

These UFC bonuses provide fighters with additional financial incentives and recognition for their performances inside the Octagon. They serve as a way for the UFC to reward fighters for their efforts and add extra excitement to the events.

Leveraging Opportunities for UFC Fighters

UFC fighters can capitalize on opportunities outside the octagon to increase their earnings. One such opportunity is leveraging their social media influence to attract sponsorship opportunities. By building a strong online presence and engaging with their fan base, fighters can attract brands and secure lucrative sponsorship deals. These deals can include endorsements, product placements, and brand collaborations, allowing fighters to earn additional income and expand their personal brand. Additionally, fighters can also monetize their social media platforms through partnerships with fitness brands, supplement companies, and apparel companies. This not only provides a financial boost but also helps fighters establish themselves as influential figures in the industry. By strategically leveraging their social media influence and exploring sponsorship opportunities, UFC fighters have the potential to significantly increase their earnings and establish long-term financial stability.

| Opportunities for UFC Fighters | Benefits |


| Leveraging social media influence | – Attract sponsorship deals

  • Increase personal brand recognition
  • Establish influence in the industry |

| Securing sponsorship opportunities | – Additional income

  • Potential long-term financial stability
  • Expand network and industry connections |

Lowest-Paid UFC Fighters

Low-paid UFC fighters earn a minimal show money compared to their higher-earning counterparts. While the average UFC fighter earns around $160,000 per year, the lowest-paid fighters receive much lower pay for their efforts.

Here are some key points about the opportunities for low-paid UFC fighters:

  • Show money for the lowest-paid UFC fighters ranges from $10,000 to $30,000.
  • Winning the fight can double their earnings, providing an incentive to perform well.
  • Fight week incentive pay, based on the number of UFC fights, is typically between $4,000 to $6,000 for fighters with fewer than 10 UFC fights.
  • Amateur MMA fighters often fight for free to gain experience, but some amateur competitions offer a percentage of ticket sales, usually around $100-200 per event.
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These opportunities, though modest, can help low-paid UFC fighters earn additional income and potentially climb the ranks to higher paydays.

UFC Fighter Pay: Base Pay and Win Bonuses

A UFC fighter's base pay and win bonuses are crucial components of their overall earnings. Base pay serves as the foundation of a fighter's compensation, determined by their tier and experience level.

Win bonuses, on the other hand, provide an additional incentive for fighters to perform at their best and are typically equal to their base payment.

However, controversy surrounds the inclusion of PPV points in fighter pay. These points, tied to the number of pay-per-view buys a fighter generates, can significantly impact their earnings.

Additionally, endorsements play a vital role in fighter pay, with sponsorship deals and brand partnerships providing fighters with additional income streams. By leveraging their popularity and marketability, fighters can maximize their earning potential and secure a more substantial financial future in the sport.

PPV Points and Discretionary Bonuses

PPV points and discretionary bonuses play a significant role in the overall earnings of UFC fighters, providing additional financial incentives based on their performance and the discretion of Dana White. These opportunities can greatly impact a fighter's paycheck and contribute to their financial success in the sport.

Here are five key points about ppv points and discretionary bonuses:

  • PPV points: Champions and popular fighters have the opportunity to earn PPV points, which are a percentage of the pay-per-view revenue generated by their fights. This can result in substantial earnings, especially for fighters who consistently draw large audiences.
  • Discretionary bonuses: Dana White has the power to award discretionary bonuses to fighters for various reasons, such as exceptional performances or going above and beyond expectations. These bonuses aren't guaranteed but can provide a significant boost to a fighter's earnings.
  • Financial leverage: UFC fighters can leverage their popularity and online following to earn additional income outside of the UFC. This includes sponsorships, endorsements, and other business opportunities that can further contribute to their overall earnings.
  • Maximizing earnings: By consistently delivering outstanding performances and generating high pay-per-view numbers, fighters can increase their chances of receiving ppv points and discretionary bonuses. This incentivizes fighters to continuously push themselves and strive for greatness.
  • Equal opportunities: While ppv points and discretionary bonuses are more common for champions and popular fighters, there's still potential for lower-ranked fighters to receive these financial incentives. It all comes down to their ability to capture the attention of fans and the discretion of Dana White.

PPV points and discretionary bonuses provide exciting opportunities for UFC fighters to maximize their earnings and achieve financial success. By leveraging their popularity and consistently delivering exceptional performances, fighters can increase their chances of benefiting from these additional financial incentives.

Miscellaneous Pay for UFC Fighters

Miscellaneous pay for UFC fighters includes additional sources of income beyond their base pay, win bonuses, and UFC bonuses. One of the main sources of additional income for UFC fighters is endorsement deals. These deals allow fighters to promote products and brands, earning them significant amounts of money. These endorsement deals can range from clothing and equipment sponsorships to partnerships with major companies.

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When comparing UFC fighter pay to other combat sports, it's clear that the UFC offers higher earning potential. While the average earnings for UFC fighters in 2021 were $160,000, fighters in other combat sports such as boxing or kickboxing often earn significantly less. This is due to the UFC's structure of paying fighters based on their performance and the level of competition they face.

Frequently Asked Questions

How Much Do UFC Fighters Earn From PPV Points and Discretionary Bonuses?

UFC fighters' earnings from PPV points and discretionary bonuses vary based on their popularity and performance. These additional sources of income can significantly boost their overall pay, making sponsorship earnings a crucial factor in their financial success.

What Are the Factors That Determine a Fighter's Base Pay in the Ufc?

The factors that determine a fighter's base pay in the UFC include their performance, UFC rankings, and their tier level. These factors play a crucial role in determining the initial payment a fighter receives for each fight.

Can UFC Fighters Earn Additional Income From Merchandise Sales?

UFC fighters can earn additional income from merchandise sales, among other sources. Factors determining their base pay include tier, win bonuses, PPV points, discretionary bonuses, and miscellaneous pay. Amateur fighters often fight for free or earn a percentage of ticket sales.

Are There Any Extra Payments Given to UFC Fighters Aside From the Mentioned Bonuses?

UFC fighters have opportunities for extra income, such as leveraging their online following and securing sponsorship deals. These additional payments, along with bonuses, contribute to the overall earnings of UFC fighters.

Do Amateur MMA Fighters Receive Any Form of Payment for Their Fights?

Amateur MMA fighters usually do not receive monetary payment for their fights. However, some amateur competitions may offer a percentage of ticket sales, typically ranging from $100-200 per event. Professional fighters have different payment structures.


In conclusion, it's clear that UFC fighters are living the high life with their surprisingly generous paychecks. The financial landscape of the UFC is truly awe-inspiring, from the average earnings to the jaw-dropping figures of the highest-paid fighters.

While some may argue that these modern-day gladiators are overpaid, it's hard not to get caught up in the excitement and enthusiasm surrounding the sport.

So next time you watch a UFC event, take a moment to appreciate the incredible earning potential of these fighters, and maybe even dream of stepping into the Octagon yourself.

Mike Williams
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