How Much Do Amateur MMA Fighters Make? Check Reality

How Much Do Amateur MMA Fighters Make? Check Reality

Mixed martial arts is an extremely popular combat sport, and with various international MMA promotions, such as the Ultimate Fighting Championship, Bellator MMA, the Professional Fighters’ League, the ONE Championship, and others, fighting in MMA has become an extremely lucrative way for fighters to earn success, fame, and money. Many of the international mixed martial arts promotions pay well to renowned professional fighters. But what about amateur fighters? Do they get paid for fighting in local or low-level MMA fights? 

To make it big in compete in the UFC as a professional mixed martial artist, one needs to have at least ten outstanding fights in their portfolio, and to create an attractive portfolio, fighters often have to manage their finances in terms of mixed martial art training sessions, traveling costs to participate in different competitions, competition registration fees where applicable, cost of gear, and other related expenses. If you are wondering whether MMA fighters bear all the expenses on their own before they go professional or get paid to fight, this article delves deeper into how much an amateur fighter makes and what are their usual sources of income. 

1. Do Amateur Mixed Martial Artists Get Paid for Fighting?

Do Amateur Mixed Martial Artists Get Paid for Fighting?

Unfortunately, amateur mixed martial artists do not get paid for competing in different low-level competitions. They usually get noticed by competing in local competitions organized by smaller MMA training clubs or fight clubs. Suppose an amateur fighter demonstrates remarkable fighting skills and puts up an entertaining show for the spectators. In that case, he may be able to get a fighting contract with the amateur fight organizing bodies, but these contracts usually do not mention a per-fight salary or payment.

Typically, there is also no mention of any monetary award for excellent performance in the fight cage. In fact, per-fight-payment mentioned in a contract is what distinguishes a professional MMA fighter from an amateur one. Instead, they receive recognition and exposure, which can lead to contracts with prestigious MMA promotions, such as the UFC and the ONE Championship. This transition is also not accomplished only with a good fighter profile. Amateur fighters also have to hire agents to help them through the process. 

2. Different Ways Amateur MMA Fighters Can Make Money

Different Ways Amateur MMA Fighters Can Make Money

Amateur MMA fighters are not paid to fight, but they can make money if they manage to sell their fights. Usually, UFC and ESPN subscriptions to watch stacked cards, fight nights, and main events are a bit on the expensive side. Amateur MMA fighting provides cheaper entertainment to MMA enthusiasts. Many amateur fighters are aware of this fact and manage to capitalize on it by increasing sales of fights. With this activity, an MMA fighter can earn up to $500 per fight. It is worth mentioning that these figures are highly subjective and also depend on the fighter’s fighting and marketing skills. Some amateur fighters make anywhere between $700-$4,000 annually using this method, typically after fighting 6-7 fights per year.

Usually, an amateur MMA fighter earns a percentage by selling the event tickets he is participating in. Unlike prominent MMA promotions, local MMA promotions and events do not have exorbitant amounts of money to advertise their events. Therefore, when a fighter helps with the marketing and promotion process, he earns a small commission that helps him cover transportation, accommodation, medical bills, food, MMA training accessories , apparel , and other costs.

There is no fixed commission percentage that a fighter can earn by selling tickets of his fight events. In some events, he may be offered 10% of the total sales in terms of commission, while others may only offer 5-7%. In this context, if an amateur MMA fighter manages to sell event tickets worth $500, he will earn somewhere between $25 - $50 as commission.

Many times, amateur fighters skip days on their jobs to sell tickets, and this is where they hurt themselves financially. For an amateur MMA fighter who is aspiring to go professional, building a strong digital presence is indispensable. Many amateur fighters believe that they can only gain fame and recognition if they enter the UFC octagon. But it is important to be active on social media and promote themselves. This way, they can better sell tickets and earn a reasonable amount as sale commissions. Through social media platforms, an amateur MMA fighter can generate a revenue of $100-$250 per fight. 

3. Getting Paid to Become a Replacement

Getting Paid to Become a Replacement

When a fighter withdraws from an MMA fighter due to an injury, many MMA promotions quickly look for replacements to maintain the number of fights originally announced for a particular event card. In these situations, many promotions are willing to pay amateur fighters for that one fight because there is money involved. Amateur MMA fighters often capitalize on these moments by becoming a timely replacement and demanding some compensation for the favor. Normally, these payments may range anywhere between $200-$350, depending on the fighter’s skills, fanbase, following on social media platforms, and ability to make it professional MMA.

Most of these payments are discretionary and undisclosed, and to be worthy of such opportunities, an amateur MMA fighter must present himself as an asset to the promotion through his combat prowess and ability to raise money for the organization. If the fighter is famous, more people will become aware of the promotion and follow events, generating revenue for the MMA competition in the process. 

4. Becoming an MMA Coach or Striking Trainer

Becoming an MMA Coach or Striking Trainer

MMA fighters with some real-life fighting experience and commendable skills can teach less-experienced and talented fighters in different MMA coaches or gyms. Some amateur MMA fighters also train aspirants from their gyms. In addition, amateur MMA fighters train striking techniques and footwork regularly because striking is one of the main skills required to emerge victorious in the cage. Therefore, they can teach other enthusiasts who may not want to take up fighting as a profession but enjoy boxing or striking as a hobby.

Becoming an MMA coach at the amateur level is demanding but it is the best possible job that keeps you in the MMA circuit and helps you to train actively. When teaching others, you simply recall what you already know and sometimes also come up with innovative fighting strategies that you can test in the cage against an opponent. As an amateur, you might not be able to attract advanced students, but if you keep your costs low, you can certainly attract beginners.

If you are unable to get a job at an MMA gym or an MMA school, you can start teaching from a private setting just like lesser-known BJJ brown and black belts do. To start your own MMA classes on a smaller scale, be sure to read the article provided below for inspiration. 

Becoming an MMA coach requires dedication, commitment, and some level of proficiency in MMA fighting style. Amateur fighters can earn anywhere between $100-$350 or more depending on their skill and experience level, how well-known they are, and how effectively they manage to sell their classes on social media. To become an MMA coach, you may need to acquire a license and fulfill some other requirements, so be sure to seek professional advice before starting a private MMA school. 

5. Patron Support

Patron support is similar to sponsorships; however, sponsorships are mostly offered during events while patrons provide financial support to talented fighters by covering their training, accommodation, and other expenses so the fighters can focus full-time on pursuing professional MMA. From community MMA clubs to fans or family members, patron support has different forms. At times, fighters are paid a significant amount of money every month so they don’t have to work. Some amateur fighters do not get money but can avail of some facilities with their patrons paying their bills.

If a patron's support comes from a fan or an organization, amateur fighters often have to pay back in terms of publicity, promotion, and sometimes a percentage of their earnings at the professional level. Some organizations may pay as low as $50 or pay for travel, food, and accommodation costs of select amateur fighters to attract them to make the event successful. Other times, small amounts are paid to fighters whom an organization wants to continue a fight contract with. 

6. Asking Fans for Funding

Asking Fans for Funding

Asking fans for support is quite similar to having patron’s support. The main difference is that patrons fund their favorite amateur MMA fighter voluntarily, whereas fan-funding or crowd-funding is usually asked by the fighter. On their social media, amateur MMA fighters can share different videos of their fights and also make a video message asking for financial support if the fans want to continue seeing you fight in the cage. Crowdfunding can start with something as small as $1 - $5. These small donations or gifts can accrue to enough for an amateur fighter to cover his living and training expenses all the while focusing on pursuing mixed martial arts professionally.

Supporting someone through his journey to glory and success is a noble act, and once an amateur fighter makes it to the top, he can pay back to the society by supporting different charities and engaging in philanthropic work. Again, for crowdfunding, you need to have a digital presence and a fan base. To be able to raise adequate money for your dreams, it is also important to continue increasing your reach to avail better crowdfunding opportunities.

Furthermore, once you manage to raise enough money every month, it is important to document your journey to verify the veracity of your claims that you want to become a professional MMA fighter. Your supporters and fans must see that you are using the donations and funds on your training and to maintain the lifestyle of a fighter, which includes traveling to different cities for access to better training and competitions. To make your portfolio fast, it is recommended that you accept as many fights as you can to add more to improve your chances of becoming a professional MMA fighter.

In exchange, you can offer different rewards and incentives to your supporters, such as merchandise at a discounted price, a private virtual training or consultation session, in-person private training session for higher payers, free or low-priced event tickets, if you have any personal vlogs that are locked for non-members, you can give your donors access to exclusive videos and other content, a photo or meet-and-greet session, personal thank you emails or hand-written notes, etc. 

6.1. The Best CrowdFunding Option for Amateur MMA Fighters in the USA

Crowdfunding is an excellent tool that can help you arrange money to pursue your dreams without having to juggle between mixed martial arts training and work responsibilities. Here are two best crowdfunding platforms in 2024 for amateur MMA fighters in the United States, along with pros and cons of each option:


Indiegogo is a user-friendly crowdfunding platform that supports both businesses and individuals, allowing them to achieve their dream projects. The best thing about Indiegogo is that it allows amateur MMA fighters to access the funds without compelling them to achieve their initial goals. This flexibility helps amateur MMA fighters to fund their long and arduous journey to professional MMA fighting. Moreover, unlike Kickstarter, with Indiegogo, amateur mixed martial artists need not worry about blocked or stopped funds.

Pros Cons
Large Community
No strict deadlines or goals
Supports personal projects
Provides continued funding
Charges 5% fees and transaction charges
Sometimes funds raised are too little to continue professional MMA journey 


Fundly is an excellent crowdfunding platform for amateur MMA fighters who do not want to pay platform fees. From personal projects to life events, an amateur MMA fighter can use Fundly to spread the word, raise money, and cover all the expenses of travel, training, accommodation, gear, and eventually realize their goals of becoming a professional MMA fighter. Fundly offers both reward-based and donation-based fundraising platforms to individuals

Pros Cons
Easy to set up campaign
Reward-based platform available
Supports personal projects
0% platform fees for organizers
Smaller community
Less well-known that Indiegogo


GoFundMe is another great platform that amateur MMA fighters can use to crowdfund their dream of becoming a professional fighter. With no fee to start, GoFundMe allows users to raise funds for their individual projects or other campaigns they care about. There are no strict rules or pressure to meet deadlines or complete goals. To get started, all you need is a genuine and compelling story, images of you fighting in a cage or training, and your fundraising goals, which is changeable. GoFundMe also allows users to share their campaigns on social media to help them achieve their fundraising goals faster. 

Pros Cons
Well-known platform with a large community
No platform fees
No pressure of completing goals
Supports personal causes and campaigns
Built-in tools for sharing campaign on social media and spread awareness
Transaction fees apply
Too many campaigns competing for attention of donors

7. Sponsorships


Amateur MMA fighters who know self-branding skills and have a decent fan following on social media can earn some money through different sponsorships. A business or an MMA organization may approach an amateur MMA fighter, but it is quite rare. Usually, the fighter has to approach different organizations through emails, phone calls, or in-person visits to sell his skills. By communicating with different MMA fight teams or gyms, fighters can make connections in different businesses, which may help them enhance their earnings.

To get a sponsorship, an amateur MMA fighter needs to come up with successful ways to promote different businesses at the fight events he is participating in. This may include having the logo or the name of the business printed on his MMA gear, selling merchandise of the sponsors at events, or he can display banners of different sponsors at the venue where he is fighting. He can also carry a banner of his sponsors when walking towards the cage to face his opponent, during weigh-ins, or meet-and-greet sessions with spectators and fans. For promoting a brand or a business at an event, an amateur fighter can negotiate a reasonable amount, such as $150 - $400 per fight.

By also making an effort at promoting the sponsors on his personal social media handles, an MMA amateur fighter can increase his earnings from none to a few hundred dollars. But getting sponsors and earning a reasonable amount of money through sponsorships takes time. 

8. By Starting a YouTube Channel

MMA fighting is a whole other universe that many people are intrigued by. Though starting a YouTube channel does not ensure an inflow of money at the beginning, but if an amateur fighter remains consistent and patient, shares snippets from his training sessions, share fitness and fighting tips with its viewers, and also uploads videos of his fights, he can surely amass a following and can create a passive source of income that will not only earn him money but also recognition, fame, success, advertisements, and sponsorships.

Furthermore, an MMA fighter can generate revenue through YouTube ad campaigns that range anywhere between $0.25 to $5 per 1000 views on a video. A channel with average following and view time allows an amateur fighter to make $100-$350 or more a month from ads only.

It is worth mentioning that the amount of money an amateur fighter can make by running his YouTube channel depends on how consistent he is and the quality of his content. If he gets noticed, there will be a significant increase in his annual income, but this is a highly time-intensive way to make money for MMA fighters who are usually busy with training and other responsibilities. 

9. Launching a Brand

Though not as huge as a professional fighter’s, an amateur MMA fighter has a significant fan following, especially if he is active on different social media platforms and shares his experiences and accomplishments with others. This fanbase is a huge asset for many amateur fighters as it allows them to become an entrepreneur and launch their own brand. It can initially start with something as small as a wrist band and can slowly increase to starting his own line of MMA gear. It is also possible for MMA fighters to sell simple T-shirts with some type of MMA fighting tips printed on them.

This unique product won’t require a hefty investment at the beginning and there is a higher chance of increased sales in the future. Thanks to Instagram and Facebook, amateur fighters can easily increase their reach and can sell their products, which initially require low investment and also minimizes financial risk. While it is difficult to predict just how much an amateur MMA fighter can make by tapping into his fanbase and using his entrepreneurial skills, but through strategic planning, and effective execution of the business plan, he can make a few hundred dollars a month. 

10. Selling Merchandise at Different MMA Events

Some MMA events allow vendors to sell their merchandise to the attendees. An amateur fighter can also engage in business activities and different fight events even if he is not actively competing in one. MMA promotions or events that do not allow amateur MMA fighters to sell their products inside the venue, the same can be done outside the venue or online. This will help with personal branding; however, these activities may not be very profitable initially, but as you become more well-known in the MMA community, your merchandise will start to sell better. The merchandise you sell at the MMA fight events can range from T-shirts, sweatshirts, hoodies, shorts , gloves, hand wraps, head gear , wrist bands, custom bandana, socks, gloves, etc. Profit can vary anywhere between $50-$150 for each fight. 

11. Last Words

Amateur MMA fighters do not make any money from fighting in the cage, they need to be creative to generate income and finance their MMA journey. In addition to extensive training, amateur MMA fighters also need to put effort on how to market their fighting skills, create a personal brand, and develop a strong presence on different social media platforms. If they learn how to better sell their dreams, fighting prowess, and merchandise (if any), they can earn up to $600 per fight.

Any mixed martial arts enthusiast planning to pursue the combat sport as a career needs to come up with an effective strategy regarding his expenses. It is important to familiarize oneself with different money-making ways, crowdfunding platforms, sponsorship methods, and other fundraising opportunities. Relying solely on a job while aiming to pursue mixed martial arts full time is a far-fetched notion, and many enthusiasts keep struggling year after year but fail to make it to the professional MMA circuit.

Once an amateur MMA fighter has a stable income source, he can focus better on training and improving his skills even more, which automatically opens more monetary opportunities for them. Organizations then consider them as an asset and are willing to pay them for fights, different businesses approach them to market and promote their products, fans finance their lifestyle and training expenses, etc. The key to making money as an amateur fighter is to become valuable through outstanding fighting skills, and until that happens, be willing to sell yourself, ask for support, and accept donations. 

Related Readings

Reading next

Transitioning from Side Control to Mount
Transitioning from Side Control to Mount

Leave a comment

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service apply.