UFC Disclosed Payout Analysis: 2006-2009

October 5, 2009

Summarized below are the statistical averages tracking the number of fights, disclosed payouts, and disclosed bonus money for most UFC events since 2006. Please keep in mind that disclosed salaries are not always available, nor are they a true representation of the total purse a fighter receives in the UFC.

Year 2006 2007 2008 2009   Δ 2006 – 2009
Fights/Event 8.88 9.08 9.92 10.50   18.31%
All UFC Events $376,406 $614,077 $735,000 $898,375   138.67%
UFN/TUF Events $170,250 $245,300 $321,833 $434,665   155.31%
UFC Events $500,100 $844,563 $1,089,143 $1,176,600   135.27%
Bonuses   $162,500 $196,667 $216,333   33.13%

 

Payout Perspective:

The disclosed payouts submitted to athletic commissions represent only a portion of the entire purse that UFC fighters receive for participating in a match. All fighters receive varying degrees of sponsorship money for endorsing certain clothing or company brands while fighting. Many of the fighters receive undisclosed bonuses from the UFC on a per fight basis. Some of the UFC’s top draws also have PPV bonuses written into their contract, which give them a cut of the buyrate they helped to generate.

What does this tell us?

  • We are able to observe that disclosed fighter payouts are increasing.
  • The rate at which disclosed payouts are increasing exceeds the growth of the number of fights per card.
  • We can then extrapolate that disclosed payouts are also increasing per fighter.
  • Finally, we may also loosely extrapolate that total payouts per fighter are increasing. If, that is, we can correctly assume that undisclosed bonuses, sponsorship money, and PPV cuts have also increased at a rate which matches the growth of the UFC/MMA in the last four years.

What doesn’t this tell us?

  • Whether the growth in disclosed fighter pay is uniform or top-heavy (i.e., has everyone received a raise, or just the big money earners?).
  • Whether the increase in fighters payouts equals, exceeds, or trails the change in UFC revenues over the corresponding period of time.

Conclusion

It’s tough to deny that the UFC is increasing the amount which it pays its fighters; whether those increases are enough for some people is an entirely different matter.

I would certainly advocate that we lack too much information to make an accurate assessment one way or another. However, I do believe it’s fair to point out that the above evidence would suggest that, as the UFC continues to grow, so too will the financial prospects of its current and former fighters.

6 Responses to “UFC Disclosed Payout Analysis: 2006-2009”

  1. Machiel Van on October 5th, 2009 9:41 AM

    Under the conclusion section there is a typo: it sohould read : “It’s tough to deny that the UFC IS increasing the amount which it pays its fighters;” not ISN’T, as this would go against the body of this paragraph. Any job openings for a proofreader?

  2. Kelsey Philpott on October 5th, 2009 10:21 AM

    I welcome any and all proofreading.

    Thanks for your help.

  3. Steven on October 5th, 2009 12:43 PM

    Before you make comments about someone and their writing abilities, I would suggest proofreading your own statement. SOHOULD is not a word.

  4. brent on October 5th, 2009 2:58 PM

    it really is hard to tell how much fighters are really making. everyone knows that the ufc pays alot more than what they report or givr out to the public. so does everyone else. does anyone really believe that fedor made 300k to timmeh’s 800k? or that mousasi nmade 2k for SF’s last show, or trigg making $1, “reportedly”. i saw an interview with dana where he disccused why he doesn’t go public, even after lorenzo suggested it to shut people up about fighter’s pay. it was basically that he didn’t want other orgs to know how his model works, something that he works very hard at. can’t say that i blame him.

  5. Stan Kosek on October 5th, 2009 8:26 PM

    Interesting that this article was posted today when it was reported that Urijah Faber has resigned with the WEC. Faber has been one of the most outspoken fighters I can think of about Zuffa’s pay (He was very open about his displeasure about it on the Adam Carolla Podcast before his 2nd fight with Brown). Now, WEC is obviously in a different position than UFC even though they’re both under the Zuffa umbrella. However, with Tito reupping, Randy signing a contract that will likely run to the end of his career and Faber resigning with Zuffa, 3 fighters that have had public complaints have committed long term to Zuffa.

    It will be interesting to find out why they all resigned. Did Zuffa make a lot of consessions in money or bonuses? With Faber, did they promise him more exposure or a WEC card on PPV or at least a WEC match on UFC programming? Did the fighters find, even with Strikeforce growing, that the lucrative paydays are still not there outside of the UFC?

  6. Machiel Van on October 7th, 2009 9:21 AM

    Touchet Steven

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