Are UFC battles real

UFC salaries & fees from Khabib, McGregor, Adesanya & Co. - that's how much a UFC fighter earns

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Updated Apr 9

By Thomas

Sports betting expert

Picture: Jorge Masvidal has made a huge leap up the UFC pay structure - but he's still way behind Khabib and McGregor. (© imago images / ZUMA Press)


UFC salaries and wages - that's how much the wild cage fighters earn


The Ultimate Fighting Championship UFC - the "premier class" of fearless cage fighters, so to speak - has risen to a billion-dollar empire in recent years.

The UFC is now said to be worth around $ 7 billion (5 years / $ 1.5 billion per year) due to a TV deal with ESPN.

The question rightly arises: How much do UFC fighters actually earn for their cage appearances?

What is left of this billion dollar money cake for the gladiators who put this money into the UFC by holding their heads and getting beaten with their fists, elbows and knees?


UFC salaries & wages: who earns what and how much


UFC salaries & fees: fixed fee, title commission and sponsorship

Basically, the UFC salaries consist of a basic fixed amount. How high this is depends on the level of awareness of the fighter and on his previous successes.

The range of the UFC fee for a fight can range from a few thousand dollars to, for example, 750,000 dollars - this fixed salary, for example, received heavyweight Stipe Miocic for his title fight at UFC 252.

Even more well-known MMA supertars like Khabib Nurmagomedov collect amounts in the millions as UFC fees. For his title duel against Dustin Poirier at UFC 244 in September 2019, he is said to have collected at least six million US dollars.


How much does Khabib earn?

According to the Russian edition of Forbes magazine, Khabib Nurmagomedov was even the highest-earning athlete in Russia from April 2019 to April 2020.

With 16.5 million dollars, the lightweight champion even earned more than other Russian sports stars such as Alexander Ovechkin, Artemi Panarin (both ice hockey / NHL) and tennis player Daniil Medvedev during this period.

Of course, the Dagestan does not only earn as a fighter, but also as an advertising figure. The 31-year-old is not only advertising for UFC sponsor Reebok, but also for the brands Toyota, Gorilla Energy Drink and a manufacturer of black cumin oil in Alhadaya.


A win in a UFC fight earns a corresponding bonus that has been contractually agreed in advance.

This can vary completely in height - and also depends on whether it was a title fight.

There is also the bonus system from UFC outfitter Reebok. Each reigning champion receives US $ 40,000 per fight, and his challenger still receives US $ 30,000.

However, if you have only completed 5 to 10 UFC fights, you have to be content with only 5,000 US dollars per fight.

UFC salaries: These are the bonuses a UFC fighter receives per fight

  • Champion: $ 40,000 per fight
  • Challenger: $ 30,000
  • 21 or more fights: $ 20,000
  • 16-20 bouts: $ 15,000
  • 11-15 fights: $ 10,000
  • 5-10 bouts: $ 5,000
  • including: $ 2,500


For the most famous octagon gladiators, however, these rewards are only a small amount of pocket money. On the one hand, she is interested in the fixed fee, which can run into the millions, and even more so in the participation in pay-per-view sales.

The number of pay-per-views (PPV) - i.e. digital tickets - via ESPN + and the UFC Fight Pass amounts to several million sales. Conor McGregor's blockbuster against Dustin Poirier at UFC 257 was priced at $ 69.99.

To make it clear, the fall 2018 fight between McGregor and Khabib had brought in nearly 2.5 million PPV sales, setting a UFC record. McGregor earned almost 50 (!) Million dollars with it. His fixed fee of $ 3 million is not included ...

This extreme UFC fee from McGregor stems from the Irishman being involved in degrees in Australia, Canada, Ireland and England. Around 90 percent of the revenue from these countries goes straight into McGregor's pocket.

Even for his surprising loss to Poirier at UFC 257, McGregor cashed royally - 45,000 dollars per second (!) Is said to have made his UFC fee, although he was knocked out in round two ...

Conor McGregor - # 1 on the UFC payroll

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That was also impressive McGregor Gage for the January 2020 comeback against Donald "Cowboy" Cerrone.

McGregor needed 40 seconds for his win - $ 4.4 million was paid in advance as a fixed salary. So he had cashed a profit of 110,000 euros per second (!) In his lightning victory!

With UFC salaries like this, McGregor is by far the highest earning cage fighter of all time!

The Irishman is miles ahead of all other cage gladiators in the eternal UFC salary ranking even without PPV income and extra bonus payments - even ahead of those who are currently much more successful and reigning champions.

Like the UFC shooting star Israel Adesanya, whose UFC fees amount to almost $ 2 million in the course of his career, but which does not (yet) appear in the top 10 UFC fees.

Neither is the reigning welterweight dominator Kamaru Usman or the heavyweight champion Stipe Miocic, who collected a whopping 790,000 US dollars in just one evening for his title fight at UFC 252 in August 2020 against Daniel Cormier.


UFC Gagen: The Top 10 in History

  1. Conor McGregor: $ 15,080,000
  2. Alistair Overeem: $ 9,570,000
  3. Khabib Nurmagomedov: $ 8,680,000
  4. Anderson Silva: $ 8,110,000
  5. Michael Bisping: $ 7,140,000
  6. Georges St-Pierre: $ 7,040,000
  7. Jon Jones: $ 7,030,000
  8. Mark Hunt: $ 6,300,000
  9. Donald Cerrone: $ 6,160,000
  10. Junior dos Santos: $ 5,970,000

Source: Statista - UFC earnings | Status: July 2020. Only the UFC income and earnings from previous fights are listed here - various fees through so-called "Fight Night Bonuses", PPV bonuses or advertising and sponsorship contracts are not included.


UFC Calendar: The next UFC fights

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Salaries & Fees at UFC 251

The example of the UFC 251 event from July 2020 shows exactly how UFC salaries and fees are made up.

The main fight between Kamaru Usman and Jorge Masvidal - also the title fight in the welterweight division - was a global blockbuster that was broadcast in 175 countries and reached around one billion (!) Television households worldwide.

For Masvidal, after 48 MMA fights in 17 years in which he had to take kicks and beatings, it was his first title fight ever ...

... and he had it sweetened with a contract - probably wise the range of pay-per-view his appearance will have.


For the mega-fight against Usman, Masvidal received the guaranteed sum of 500,000 US dollars as a UFC fee. As was his opponent at the time, by the way.

In addition to these 500,000 dollars, there were various bonuses, with which he is guaranteed to have pocketed 590,000 US dollars - despite the defeat!


A pretty decent consolation prize that probably makes the defeat more bearable. With a win he could not only have been happy about the gold belt, but also about a generous title bonus.

Regardless of victory or defeat, in addition to this almost USD 600,000, there is definitely the lucrative pay-per-view income that is built up Jorge Masvidal before his first title fight extra has assured.

Masvidal vs. Usman at UFC 251 recorded a total of 1.3 million PPV purchases (900,000 in the US alone) - the second highest in UFC history since Khabib Nurmagomedov vs. Conor McGregor at UFC 229 in 2018.

How much of Masvidal's PPV income can you imagine - McGregor bagged around 50 (!) Million dollars from the PPV income from the Khabib fight ...


UFC Masvidal & Usman Salaries at UFC 251

Fixed feeTitle awardPromo bonus Performance bonus
Kamaru Usman500.000 $unknown40.000 $50.000 $
Jorge Masvidal500.000 $unknown30.000 $50.000 $


The co-main event of UFC 251, in which the featherweight champion Alexander Volkanovski won with a point decision over Max Holloway, was paid out heavily.

In addition to his gold belt, the defending champion also took home a whopping 390,000 US dollars, while the defeated challenger was able to console himself with 310,000 US dollars in “compensation for pain and suffering”.

In the third UFC 251 title fight, which Petr Yan won in the bantamweight division against Jose Aldo, the new title holder was able to look forward to a total of 230,000 US dollars.


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How much do the women in the cage earn appropriately?

And what about women? How much do the intrepid UFC fighters get?

Suffice it to say: There is no gender equitable pay in the UFC - women a lot less than men.

Nevertheless, the successful ladies can look forward to very generous salaries.

Amanda Nunes, perhaps the best fighter in the UFC circus and current bantamweight title holder, has a contract that earns her around 450,000 US dollars per fight - plus a 100,000 bonus if she wins.

Valentina Shevchenko, ruler of the women's flyweight, comes in at around $ 250,000 per fight, while UFC beauty Michelle Waterson comes in at around $ 140,000.


UFC Barbie Paige VanZant on Instagram

On the other hand felt UFC fighter Paige vanZant extremely underpaid and even let her UFC contract expire.

Her fixed salary per fight was US $ 46,000, for her appearance at UFC 251 against Amanda Ribas she even received "only" 33,000 dollars.

Far too little for your taste. According to her own statements, she earned more with her participation in "Dancing with The Stars" than in her entire UFC career ...


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Whereby this is again complaining at a very high level. The majority of UFC fighters earn significantly less.

In 2018, the average UFC salary for cage artists was just $ 138,000. Top earners and superstars such as Conor McGregor or Anderson Silva are already included in this calculation.


How much does UFC President Dana White earn?

A question that comes up again and again in the area of ​​UFC salaries and fees does not refer to the income of the cage fighters, but also to the UFC President:

How much does Dana White earn? The UFC boss is estimated to make around $ 20 million a year.

In 2001, White and the Fertitta brothers bought the MMA organization for $ 2 million. Under his leadership, the UFC became a multi-billion dollar company and he himself held 9% of the shares.


Picture: How much does UFC President Dana White earn? His UFC fee is estimated at around $ 20 million a year. (© Julio Cortez / AP /

A sale of the UFC to the talent agency WME-IMG in 2016 raised 4 billion US dollars.

However, Dana White himself remained president of the UFC and signed a 7-year deal in 2019, for which he currently collects a profit share of 9%, which corresponds to about 20 million dollars per year.

Projected, Dana White has an estimated fortune of around 450 million euros.


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