Mixed Martial Arts (MMA) is a modern gladiator show. Conor McGregor and Tony Ferguson are just a few fighters you will see fighting in the ring. They also live lavish lifestyles. You might be wondering what MMA pays.

Is MMA a good option?

MMA is one of the fastest-growing sports today. In 2020, the average fighter earned $147,965. Although this varies from fighter to fighter and depends on the organization they fight for, MMA generally pays better than regular jobs.

You might be a superfan of MMA and want to find out if you are eligible for financial compensation. Continue reading to learn if MMA is a lucrative sport.

What is the Average Pay for an MMA Fighter Per Fight?

The amount of money an MMA fighter makes per fight will depend on their experience level, whether they are a pro or amateur, how much they negotiate, and what promotions they receive.

New fighters can expect to make between $10,000 and $30,000. Remember that fighters rarely fight more than three or four times per year.

The average fight for middle-tier fighters is $80,000 to $250,000. In comparison, top-tier fighters like Tony Ferguson and Justin Gaethje could make $500,000 to $3,000,000, depending on their prize money and any money they receive from promotions or sponsors.

Remember, however, that fighters do not always fight in the ring. They typically fight three to five times a calendar year. A bottom-tier fighter with no brand deals might make $30,000 yearly from MMA.

Many MMA fighters at lower tiers work second jobs to supplement their income and fuel their MMA careers.

37% of MMA fighters earned less than the 2018 national average income
In 2018, the average American income was $45,000
In 2018, only 187 UFC fighters earned six-figure salaries
Despite the risks of the sport, pro-MMA fighters earn less than average NFL players in base salary (NFL players earn $400,000).

How Much Do Amateur MMA Fighters Make?

MMA is a low-paying sport until you get signed by the UFC. After taxes and the payment of trainers, amateur fighters usually make $400-600 per fight.

Promotions usually offer a scale based on the number of tickets sold. Fighters can earn a little more.

Amateur MMA fighters can earn more than $400-600 per fight, depending on how they negotiate. However, that is a starting point.

But keep your job. Georges-Saint-Pierre, a former pro-MMA fighter, worked three jobs to get through college and make enough cash to fight in MMA. It’s not an inexpensive sport.

Look at other professional sports to see how you can understand this. It would help if you had the funds, the skill, and the knack to catch the public’s attention and get sponsors’ deals to reach the professional level. There are 10 professional fighters out there that you need to see.

UFC is a highly selective sport. Only some people can make it to the top.
Before sponsorships and deals, amateur fighters make very little before they are paid.
Many amateur MMA fighters need multiple jobs to make ends meet.
It is expensive to get into the sport.

Are UFC Fighters Paid If They Lose?

The simple answer to that question is yes. No matter the fight’s outcome, UFC fighters are paid a base wage. A “win” bonus usually matches the fight’s base salary. This motivates fighters to do their best and earns them that bonus.

UFC fighters also get a brand bonus from Reebok each time they enter the ring. This is thanks to a partnership between the UFC & Reebok, where fighters receive sponsor money for wearing only Reebok gear during fights.

UFC is not a win-or-go-home type of career. Fighters will be paid regardless.


UFC fighters receive a base salary regardless of what the outcome is
In the balance of a fight, performance bonuses and fight bonuses are both available
UFC fighters are required to wear only Reebok gear within the ring

The Truth About MMA Fighting

Conor McGregor is a marvel to all. But, with fame comes a sometimes unpleasant backstory. It is well-known that Conor McGregor lived on welfare and trained to fight for the UFC’s attention.

Francis Ngannou is a top heavyweight MMA fighter. He was born in Cameroon and worked in salt mines. He then made his way to France and America, and eventually, he slept in parking lots.

Stipe Miocic is another heavyweight and is a firefighter out of the ring. Georges-Saint Pierre also worked three jobs to attend college and fight in MMA.

There are a lot of pro-MMA fighters who still need to make it.

This isn’t just a problem with MMA. This is a common problem in all professional sports but is not exclusive to MMA.

Additionally, UFC fighters are often dissatisfied with the salary levels for top-level fighters. This is even though fighters can be battered in the octagon.

Although fighters may have sponsorship deals or brand deals that make up the difference in the end, the point is clear: Fighters need better baseline compensation regardless of whether they win or lose.

Which is more critical, boxers or MMA fighters?

It depends on the sport. Grassroots and MMA fighters earn different salaries than prodigies like Conor McGregor and Tony Ferguson. Their wages are low.

Boxers and MMA fighters at low levels make little money as they are not eligible for brand promotions or deals. They also have to pay for their equipment and training. Amateur fighters can have a primary or two-year career to help pay for their MMA training and fights.

Typically, fighters sign with the UFC to fight for several fights. They also get fixed pay and bonuses depending on their performance.

Professional boxers make more money than MMA fighters on their salary, but they start making big bucks once they win a title or defeat a world champion.

This is when the cash starts coming in. However, top boxers are more successful than top MMA fighters.


Is MMA a lucrative sport? MMA is a modern gladiator sport that pays well at the highest levels and with the correct brand agreements.

It needs to pay fighters more to be considered a baseline. However, the potential for making money is excellent.

It is complex. It is different for everyone. Some fighters do it out of love, while others do it to make a living.