UFC Pay and Tole it’s Taken Inkwell Article

No matter what your job is, everyone has had thoughts of going pro in the sport they are passionate about. Whether it be basketball, baseball, or even MMA, the fame that comes with going pro is too large to overlook. In the context of the UFC, however, athletes might want to reconsider their dreams of being a world-renowned fighter. 

In comparison to other major American sports leagues, the UFC drastically underpays their athletes. While leagues like the NFL and NBA pay their athletes 50% of total revenue, fighters in the UFC only get paid 16-20%. The question is why? If the interest in MMA and the UFC has grown so sharply over the years, why is the pay of another combat sport like boxing so much higher? The truth is that even though Dana White, the president of the UFC, has been pressured to raise the salaries, he is too stubborn to do so. In an interview with a journalist White said, “Listen if you don’t like it, go start your own MMA league and pay’em whatever you want to pay’em. This is mine and this is the way we’re doing it.” In the same interview White also said how the media is blind to how much he actually pays his fighters. 

The pay difference between boxers and mixed martial artists is actually more than the public has been led to believe. The highest paid UFC fighter has hardly made a quarter of what the highest paid boxer is paid. Conor McGregor, the UFC fighter with the highest career earnings, has made approximately 25.3 million dollars. In comparison, Floyd Maywhether, the highest paid boxer, has made 450 million dollars (250 million of that sum came from one fight!). Due to the disparate pay range between boxers and mixed martial artists, many fighters have to rely on publicizing in order to acquire their coveted fortunes. In his standoffs, McGregor is known for being insulting, always eager to pick a fight. This hot-headed attitude not only results in him gaining more fans, but it also allows him to be the center of attention even when he’s not fighting. McGregor is one of the few fighters to be challenged so frequently because the people who challenge him know that fighting him will increase their own popularity. Mcgregor’s genius strategy has influenced many other fighters to follow in his hot-headed footsteps in hopes of one day making as much money as he has. Thanks to the UFC underpaying its fighters, MMA has become more of a popularity contest than a martial art. The control and discipline that many martial artists preach has since been thrown out the window all in the hope of trying to make some extra cash on the side.