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How Much Money Do MMA Fighters Make?

How Much Money Do MMA Fighters Make?

Mixed martial arts fighters are becoming the talk of the town as mainstream media is finally realizing their importance. From their lavish lifestyle to their insanely luxurious style of traveling, everything is finally coming under the radar. For the longest, MMA fighters and mixed martial arts as an industry was neglected however, they are now catching up.

People used to restrict their kids from entering the world of MMA because it was so understated, however, with the current financial standing of some of the best MMA fighters’ even parents are giving a second thought to MMA as a career choice. In mixed martial arts, making a reasonable amount of money is quite difficult, you either make too much or too little, there is no in-between. Some famous athletes make insane amounts of money from their MMA careers whereas, you might find some MMA athletes still struggling to earn an honest living. Just like other professions, the Struggling period in MMA is quite difficult but once you pass that struggling period, you will see the sponsors, brands like Elite Sports, and event managers running to your aid, willing to pay you billions in advance.

If you are a mixed martial arts enthusiast and want to opt for mixed martial arts as a career, you might need to know a few things that will play a key role in setting the overall net worth. The pay scale of MMA fighters might have seen a substantial surge recently but overall, this is largely based on the talent, management, and the fights you get, and how well you tackle your opponent. There is a very extreme wage gap if you analyze the difference in salaries between the lowest and highest paid fighters. For starters, you might not be able to get wealthy as quickly as you are expecting. Additionally, your hard work and persistence towards your goal will decide your worth.

How MMA Players Build Their Worth in The Industry?

Just like any other profession, unless you are not very good at what you do, you don’t receive recognition. MMA is the same when it comes to recognizing their fighters and allowing them to earn more. You might feel very impressed by the lifestyle of Conor McGregor, his lavish lifestyle, his overall worth and earning but very few acknowledge the amount of hard work that goes behind a successful MMA fighter.

Most people just know that MMA fighters live an extravagant lifestyle and they earn a lot but there are a lot of things rather dark to mention that is going on in the industry. There are big agents, big agencies, and rookies are involved within the NFL. For NBA fans, understanding this might be a lot easier but if you are not familiar with it, this might sound a little tricky to you. Most players don’t have the advantage of negotiation, this means they get what they are offered, and nothing more nothing less. Very few fighters have the advantage of negotiation and that only happens once they reach a certain ranking. You need to have good links within the fighters association and you need to join unions as well for better PR. This might feel like you are dealing with a lot and if you don’t have strong management, you might miss a chance to earn a lot. In most cases, unions make rules and they fight for the rights of the player however, these unions also help with financial negotiations, compensations, and other legal standings of the fighters.

MMA - Money Making Machine

If you are wondering how much MMA fighters make overall, you might be in for a surprise. Although the MMA industry is not huge and there are just 187 MMA fighters globally that are recognized by UFC. These 187 fighters earn around six-figures and that was just in 2018. The worth of a player is more dependent on his technique, ranking, and skill which is the reason there are UFC recognized fighters who made even less than 45,000 US dollars and compared to a common household income this is quite average. In 2018, the average income of a UFC MMA fighter was 68,500 US dollars and this was just for the fighters who were average. However, a good UFC fighter was earning something around 138,250 US dollars on average.

No matter where you go, you will always observe a huge gap between the top earners and the lower earners. This is usually determined by their popularity and once you are as popular as Conor McGregor, you are no longer required to depend on your paycheck. You will get a lot of sponsors and brands willing to pay you for endorsements and campaigns as well.

What Will You Learn From This Article?

If you are interested in knowing about who is the richest MMA and UFC fighters globally? How are they earning this amount? Who earns the most through salary and endorsements? What are the ways you can earn through MMA? For all these things, you need to keep reading. In this article, we will also discuss the net worth of UFC fighters. The given list consists of the top few fighters although there are a lot more who are earning a generous amount and are enjoying a luxurious lifestyle as well.

Before you start reading this, you need to keep in mind that the overall worth of the fighter usually changes as he goes up the ladder. With more events and fights, rankings keep on changing so the salaries, net worth are never constant and keep changing. Even as you read this, the ranking and the net worth might be changing. So this is very important to know that this list is not constant. Additionally, few players have lavish lifestyles because they have been in the game for quite a long whereas others might have a better ranking but they have achieved this ranking through their hard work within just a few years. This means less money and a less lavish lifestyle. Similarly, the salaries and the net worth are completely different because the net worth is based on the overall investment as well as the spending of the person whereas the salaries are just a fixed amount that players get from the organization for representing them.

Top Earners in the Game

1.       Conor McGregor

In the world of MMA, Conor McGregor needs no introduction. He is the highest-paid player who knows how to earn money as well as how to spend this money. Conor has a very interesting story and in case you are wondering yes, like so many other sob stories, he was also poor. He was a plumber but got tired of his routine work and that’s when he started his career in MMA. He has a passion for the game, the technique, and the skill set and so he soon became the talk of the town. Although he is not on the top of the rank now he is still the richest man in the world of MMA. According to the 2018 salary sheet, he was earning $3,030,000 as a base salary. He is notorious for being the highest-paid fighter and according to stats he was paid around 100 million US dollars in 2017 after winning some of the most remarkable matches. Even after losing his rank, he is still getting paid enough that he doesn’t have to do a thing. Apart from the basic salary he is also earning, via UFC where he is getting 12.5 million, his boxing career is helping him bag around 20-30 million and he is also the brand ambassador of various famous brands including burger king, beat electronics, and monster energy. Overall, Conor is another name of money pulling magnet and he has proved this with his exceptional skills and overall rags to riches story. Even if we estimate his overall net worth, we can easily say he is worth up to 120 million.

2.       Khabib Nurmagomedov 

The undefeated king of MMA, Khabib Nurmagomedov might be number one in the ranking but he is number two in the highest-paid list. Crowned as the might undefeated king of MMA, Kabib earns $2,570,000 according to his 2018 salary sheet. According to an estimate, his average endorsement earnings range from 3-5 million every year and he is earning at least 1 million as a participation fee for every fight. He is known to be one of the most popular active stars in the game and starting from the record of 17-0 that he scored in UFC. He has since just worked his way up to complete perfection and has bagged as much money as anyone can expect.

According to an estimate he has made at least 7.5 million from his last fight which is a pretty urge number in any game. Even for his precise speeches, he charges a hefty fee and that’s not all. He also earns through various other engagements and sponsorships. Even if we estimate his overall net worth, we can easily say he is worth up to 30 million.

3.   Mark Hunt

One of the most popular fighters in the industry, Mark has a passion for the game. Although initially, he faced a bumpy ride he showed his worth to UFC and soon he was the golden boy they always wanted to have by their side. He rose to fame after his unforgettable performance in Australia and since then he is on a killer ride. According to an estimate right from 2010 till now, Mark Hunt has made over 6 million in base salary. This is proof that he knows the game and he is continually striving to be better. Over the last decade, he has not only proved his worth but he has also been part of some of the most iconic fights.

According to the 2018 salary sheet, his basic salary is around 2,295,000 US dollars which is a pretty good amount. Mark makes around 700 k each fight which is not such a big fat number as compared to the first two but it is not exactly a humble number either. During his last fight, he made 765,000 US dollars and this includes the 15,000-fight week incentive as well that was gifted to the extraordinary performer. For the sponsor and other endorsements that he has signed with various brands, he is earning up to 1 million each year.

4.   Daniel Cormier

If you are an avid MMA fan you must know about the double champ. Daniel Cormier has earned his name via MMA and is also known to be very famous among youngsters. Starting from the endorsements to some of the most skilled and strategic techniques, he knows how to entertain the crowd. According to the 2018 pay sheet, his base salary is 1,820,000 US dollars that he gets for participating in the fights. Apart from his basic salary, he is earning around 1 million every year from various endorsements. If you think that is too much, you might be in for a treat because Mr. Double champ knows how to double his money. According to an estimate he earned around 640,000 US dollars which included a whopping 40,000 US dollar bonus prize for the fight week incentive. He earns around 500k for each fight and it is expected that he might end up earning more than that. He is also handling the endorsement of Carl Jr’s, which is also earning him a lot of money. Critics and experts are also expecting him to become the next big thing, which means in a few years, he will be earning a lot more.

5.   Alistair Overeem

Number five on the highest paying MMA list we have Alistair Overeem. He is a Dutch MMA fighter and according to critics, he is in for a long run. With his astonishing technique and very well strategic game handling skills, he is going to become the next big thing. According to the 2018 pay sheet issued by UFC, his basic salary is 1,720,000 US dollars. He is also earning a whopping 1 million US dollar via various endorsement deals. According to an estimate, he earns around 800k for each fight and this will only get better with time. He earned around 860,000 US dollars in his last fight; however, this includes his sponsorship paycheck from reebok as well.

If we talk about his career, he was a kick boxer and he soon shifted to MMA. He has fought over 60 fights right now and will be fighting a lot more in the future. He has been in the industry for over 10 years and he has earned around 8 million during this time. Although this amount seems not too much considering he has been in the industry for too long however, this is still quite high as compared to other MMA players.

How to Build a Net Worth

If you are confused about the ranking and the net worth, you might need to understand a few basics. Salary is just the base for the player, other things help in building the overall net worth of the player. This includes the base salary, win bonus, sponsorships, and night fight bonus. For a UFC fighter, the base salary is a specific amount that you get for participation, the player will get this money even if they win or lose. Then there is an addition of a win bonus, in case the player ends up winning the game. This is usually a big incentive and it is announced openly in most events. Apart from all these things, there is a fight of the night and performance of the night bonus as well. On average, if we just simply calculate the bonus, it can range up to 50,000 US dollars however, this money is only awarded to the player if his performance is extraordinary.

Starting from the basics here are a few things that you must keep in mind if you are going to understand the net worth and the money distribution of each player. Most people get confused that players are getting good amounts of money but their overall net worth is not so much. On the other hand, there are high ranking players but their net worth is not very strong. In both cases, we talk about the base salary but as the player gets experienced in the game he builds a reputation and his name becomes a brand. Some players even end up launching their clothing brands, others get attached to various other brands for endorsement. Few players have worked their way up and have gained a lot of fame in a very short period. However, if we see their net worth, it will be just above average, the reason behind this may be the overall time they have spent in the industry. Just like any other industry, senior players are paid more and they are already running their own business and have invested their money well. For some players, the spending is far too much to maintain their lifestyle that their overall net worth decreases.  

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