How Much Do MMA Fighters Get Paid?

From Conor McGregor to Khabib Nurmagomedov, the world of MMA has impressive fighters and garnered millions of worldwide attention. These MMA fighters make the audience jump from their seats with kickass moves and solid punches.

You must have heard how wealthy and famous these MMA fighters are. In this article, we shall discuss how much these MMA fighters earn.

Let’s punch this right up!


How Much Do MMA Fighters Get Paid?

The major source of income for MMA fighters is their participation in fights and the associated compensation. In the past, the money received from competing served as MMA fighters’ primary source of revenue. However, the fighters’ sources of income have changed somewhat in recent years.

UFC (Ultimate Fighting Championship) is the leading organization that keeps these MMA fights. All top fighters gained recognition through this platform, and many earn money after each fight held by UFC. Every time a fighter enters the Octagon (the ring where the fights happen), they typically sign a contract for a set number of fights at a fixed price.

Now we shall discuss the different ways these fighters earn.

I. Payment Tiers: Main Earning Per Fight

While doing MMA for UFC, the salary is split into low, medium, and high tiers, with the lowest paying between $10,000 and $30,000 and the highest paying between $500,000 and $3,000,000 every fight. These payouts are determined by the popularity of the fighter and their performances. According to such terms and tiers, the payments for each fight vary. Here is how it has been distributed:

Low Tier Middle Tier  High Tier
  • This is mostly for new fighters who have just started their MMA and UFC careers. 
  • Their pay starts from $10,000 to $30,000.
  • Most new fighters that sign with the UFC receive a contract of this nature.
  • The fighters are no longer in the freshers’ category and have won few matches, which gives them a better contract. 
  • These fighters fall in the middle tier category after a few victories and building a name within the Octagon.
  • Their pay ranges from $80,000 to $250,000 per fight.
  • This is for seasoned fighters who have won several fights and have a massive fan base. 
  • The greatest contracts go to UFC champions and athletes with the largest fan following in this tier. 
  • They receive a whopping payout worth $500,000 to $3,000,000 per fight.


II. Bonuses: Additional Pay Based On Performance

Here is how their bonuses are distributed:

  • In addition to the fight’s guaranteed prize, a boxer who prevails will also get a victory bonus in the same amount, which is basically double the original fight pay they get. To clarify, if a fighter is paid $90,000 for a fight, they will earn an additional $90,000 if they win, for a total payment of $180,000.
  • It’s important to note that the victory bonus only applies to lower and middle tier contracts. Therefore UFC Champions (high tier) often don’t receive a win bonus that doubles their earnings.
  • Additionally, UFC ensures that the two competitors who participate in the finest and most exciting match get a $50,000 prize.
  • The largest kind of event in the UFC is PPV (pay per view) event. PPV events cost an extra fee of $65. These PPV events showcase the finest matches the UFC has to offer. They attract the most viewers and, thus, make by far the most revenue. The quantity of pay per view is important since it increases the earnings of the Octagon fighters. Also, a larger fan base improves popularity and increases the likelihood that the PPV main event will occur, considerably boosting base earnings.

III. Endorsements: Promotions And Commercials

Numerous different businesses have agreements with UFC athletes. To get paid, a fighter must advertise a brand’s merchandise on social media, commercials, websites, and more.

Speaking of commercials, Conor McGregor came in the commercials of Budweiser and Bud Light. Even Cain Velasquez, Cat Zingano, Rumble, Anthony Pettis, and many popular MMA stars have appeared in commercials of this brand.

Fedor Emelianenko appeared in the Korean Snickers ad. GSP was seen in Gatorade and NOS Energy Drink.

Many stars have appeared in advertisements for Burger King, Under Armour, AT&T, Reebok, and other big brands.

IV. Outside UFC

Outside the UFC Octagon, fighters fight in the PFL, which is short for Professional Fighting League, and Bellator.

  • Pay at PFL (Professional Fighting League) –  Winners get $1,000,000.
  • Pay at Bellator – A winner can make between $100,000 to $300,000.

V. Sponsorships: The Venum Deal

UFC and Venum have a contract agreeing that fighters must use only Venum gear and equipment during matches. Each time they compete, all UFC fighters get compensation from Venum sponsorship.

Different numbers of fights have different pay given to a fighter. For example, if a new fighter with only one to three fights wears Venum’s gears, they will receive $4,000. Meanwhile, champion MMA fighters can get up to $42,000 for every fight.

VI. Merchandise

Oftentimes, UFC sells its merch. Not only that, some athletes have opened their own clothing chains or run businesses outside the MMA world.

Top MMA Fighters and their Pay

Fighter Name

Amount They Earn

Conor McGregor 

Khabib Nurmagomedov

Alistair Overeem 

Andrei Arlovski 

Anderson Silva 

Jon Jones 

Michael Bisping

Junior dos Santos 

Georges St-Pierre

Donald Cerrone 

Daniel Cormier

Mark Hunt 

Stipe Miocic

Vitor Belfort

Dan Henderson 

Brock Lesnar 

Jose Aldo

Mauricio Rua

Frankie Edgar

Lyoto Machida

Nate Diaz






















Overall Pay

The average MMA fighter’s (for UFC) paycheck in 2021 was $160,022. That very year, about 17 UFC fighters held championship belts, which includes the interim belt, and earned an average salary of $675,824. This calculation does not involve other paychecks.


Hence, MMA fighters make a huge amount of money in the Octagon. It is no wonder that so many people love UFC. It is not just about the fight but about sportsmanship, no religious bounds, the adrenaline rush, and more. It is not just a sport; it is so much more than that.


1. Who is the highest-paid MMA fighter in UFC?

The Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) athlete with the greatest career earnings made only from UFC fights is Conor McGregor, dubbed Notorious, who earned almost 25.3 million dollars.

2. What other companies keep MMA fights besides UFC?
  • ONE Championship.
  • Bellator MMA.
  • Fight Nights Global (FNG)
  • Pancrase.
  • Absolute Championship Berkut (ACB)
3. What are the four pillars of MMA?
  • Technique
  • Method
  • Conditioning
  • Mind

After learning about how much MMA fighters earn, you might be curious about how much female UFC fighters make.

Featured Img Src: Bad intentionzCC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons.


Jonas Muthoni is the Founder and CEO of Deviate Agency; he has contributed to several online publications, including Forbes. He loves to write on topics ranging from leadership and business to technology. Writing has always been his passion, and He has been writing for online publications over the last several years.