UFC Fighter Pay Decreased By 22.5 Percent In 2022 Despite YoY Revenue Jump

UFC Fighter Pay Decreased By 22.5 Percent In 2022 Despite YoY Revenue Jump

The UFC saw a 10 percent revenue bump in 2022 and watched its net profits soar by 30 percent year-over-year. At the same time, UFC president Dana White managed to cut UFC fighter pay by 22.5 percent in 2022. The UFC paid just $146 million to fighters last year, down from $178.8 million in 2021.

The Ultimate Fighting Championship has become one of the world’s fastest-growing sports. Acquired for $4 billion in Endeavor in 2016, the MMA conglomerate is now valued at roughly $12 billion. The company even secured a $1.5 billion broadcasting deal with ESPN

Despite bringing in nearly $400 million in profits last year, the UFC has been scrutinized for the salaries and payouts earned by fighters in a dangerous combat sport.

According to numbers sourced by Joe Pompliano, UFC fighter pay actually decreased by 22.5 percent in 2022. The UFC paid out $178.8 million to fighters in 2021 compared to just $146 million in 2022.

That means that Dana White and company are paying out just 13 percent of its annual revenues to fighters, by far the lowest of any top professional sports league.

During that same timeframe, revenue increased year-over-year by over 10 percent and net profits increased by 30 percent.

UFC Fighters Earn 4x Less Revenue Share Compared To Top Sports Leagues

When compared to other top sports leagues in the US, UFC fighters are earning nearly ¼ of the revenue share.

The MLB leads all sports leagues, paying out a staggering 54 percent of the league’s revenue to athletes. The NBA and NHL follow closely behind at 50 percent. Meanwhile, the NFL, which earns the most revenue of any sports league, spends approximately 48 percent of its revenue on player salaries, which is still well above and beyond the percentage earned by UFC fighters.

By comparison, the UFC paid out just 13 percent

  1. MLB: 54%
  2. NBA: 50%
  3. NHL: 50%
  4. NFL: 48%
  5. UFC: 13%

Francis Ngannou Leaves UFC Over Salary Concerns

One of the main takeaways from the UFC’s last pay-per-view in California was the eye-popping salary figures released by the state’s athletic commission.

At UFC 270, main event fighters Francis Ngannou and Cyril Gane earned the highest guaranteed salaries, taking home $600,000 and $500,000, respectively. However, more than half of the fighters on the main card earned payouts of $20,000 or less.

Despite becoming the UFC heavyweight champion, Ngannou would later vacate his title to seek a more lucrative deal from outside of the company. Instead, he negotiated with rival MMA league PFL for a deal that not only earned him a significantly better payday but also put a share of each event’s net profits into his pocket.

On a recent episode of the Dan LeBetard Show, Ngannou revealed that the UFC attempted to sign him to a deal worth approximately $120,000 per fight.

Here is what Ngannou had to say about the negotiating process with the UFC:

Instead, Ngannou was able to sign a guaranteed deal with PFL worth millions of dollars per fight and even secured a minimum of $2 million for his future opponents.

Check out Ngannou’s PFL deal below.

  • High 7-figure per fight guarantee
  • $2M guarantee for his opponents
  • A share of each event’s net profits
  • Freedom to box & sign sponsors
  • Equity in the PFL & Chairman of PFL Africa

Ngannou isn’t the only prized MMA fighter to leave the UFC in search of a better contract. Shane Burgos, also known as ‘The Hurricane’, also signed with PFL for a deal that he called “phenomenal”.

“This isn’t the first time I’ve fought out my [UFC] contract, this is the second,” Burgos told MMA Fighting in April. “I took pride in being in the UFC, being in the top organization. Now I’ve got to make sure this s*** was worth it when it’s all said and done.”

“The deal I got is phenomenal,” Burgos continued. “My manager Malki [Kawa] put that in my head — are you a UFC fighter or are you a prize fighter? I can proudly and confidently say now I’m a prize fighter. I’m fighting for a f****** bag now. I’m not fighting for peanuts. I’m fighting for pro athlete money and that’s what I’m making.”

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