Earnings from Fights in MMA

Earnings in Mixed Martial Arts (MMA) can vary significantly based on several factors, including the fighter’s experience, popularity, performance, and the promotion they fight for. Here’s a detailed look at how fighters earn money from fights and the various components that make up their income.

Base Salary

Show Money

Guaranteed Payment: Fighters receive a guaranteed payment just for showing up to fight, often referred to as “show money.” This amount is agreed upon in the fighter’s contract with the promotion.

Variable by Promotion: Base salaries can vary widely between promotions and depend on the fighter’s negotiation power. For example, UFC fighters generally earn higher base salaries compared to those in smaller promotions.

Win Bonus

Incentive for Winning: Many contracts include a “win bonus,” which is an additional amount paid if the fighter wins their bout. This doubles the incentive to perform well.

Common Structure: A typical contract might be structured as “$50,000 to show and $50,000 to win,” meaning the fighter earns $50,000 for participating and an additional $50,000 if they win.

Performance Bonuses

Fight Night Bonuses

Performance of the Night: Bonuses awarded to fighters who deliver outstanding performances. UFC, for example, awards bonuses such as “Performance of the Night” and “Fight of the Night,” each typically worth $50,000.

Fight of the Night: Both fighters in the most entertaining fight of the evening can receive this bonus, promoting high-level, exciting performances.

Sponsorship and Endorsements

Pre-2015 UFC Sponsorship Model

Personal Sponsors: Fighters were allowed to display personal sponsors on their fight gear and banners, which could significantly boost their income.

Lucrative Deals: Popular fighters often secured lucrative sponsorship deals, adding substantial earnings on top of their fight purses.

Post-2015 UFC Sponsorship (Reebok/Venum Deal)

Uniform Deal: With the introduction of the Reebok (and later Venum) uniform deal, UFC fighters receive a tiered payment based on their tenure with the organization, rather than individual sponsorship deals.

Payments: These payments range from $3,500 per fight for newcomers to $21,000 for fighters with over 20 UFC fights.

Outside UFC and Other Promotions

Personal Sponsorships: Fighters in other promotions can still secure personal sponsorships, providing an additional revenue stream.

Endorsement Deals: Successful fighters often land endorsement deals with brands, supplementing their fight earnings.

Pay-Per-View (PPV) Shares

PPV Main Event Fighters

Revenue Sharing: High-profile fighters, especially those headlining PPV events, often receive a share of the PPV revenue.

Contractual Agreements: The percentage share is typically negotiated in their contract and can lead to significant earnings for popular fighters.


Conor McGregor: Known for earning substantial sums from PPV revenue, with some fights reportedly earning him millions from PPV shares alone.

Other Earnings

Fight Night Sponsorships

In-Event Sponsorships: Promotions often feature sponsorships and advertisements during events. Fighters might receive additional earnings if they participate in promotional activities.

Merchandise Sales

Personal Merchandise: Fighters can earn money from sales of personal merchandise, such as branded apparel and accessories.

Promotion Merchandise: Fighters may also receive a percentage of sales from promotion-branded merchandise.

Coaching and Seminars

Additional Income: Many fighters supplement their income by offering training sessions, coaching, and conducting seminars.

Prize Money from Tournaments

Tournament-Based Promotions

Bellator Grand Prix: Bellator occasionally hosts tournaments with significant prize money for winners.

PFL Million-Dollar Prize: The Professional Fighters League (PFL) offers a million-dollar prize for winners of its seasonal tournaments.

Other Considerations

Manager Fees

Management Costs: Fighters typically pay a percentage of their earnings to managers who handle negotiations, contracts, and sponsorship deals.

Training Expenses

Camp Costs: Preparing for a fight involves significant expenses, including paying coaches, training partners, nutritionists, and other support staff.


Tax Obligations: Fighters must account for taxes on their earnings, which can significantly reduce their take-home pay.