The official MMA average salary stands $34,400 but that includes the huge contracts for the richest MMA fighters. So those far down the rung are looking at something smaller than a Domino’s delivery boy. Why are top MMA Fighter Salaries So Big? Rewind 20 years and not many people wanted a piece of the UFC. 2 days ago Machachev looked good tonight but he beat a guy with 9 losses with zero top 10 wins. Even Makachev himself was asking for a 'ranked' opponent in his post fight interview. I remember when Platinum Mike Perry was all the rage on here because he smashed a bunch of B level fighters. Let's seem Makachev fight a mid rank top 10 guy next. Three-time Bellator MMA lightweight champion Michael Chandler had the most memorable big show debut in UFC president Dana White’s memory at UFC 257, destroying #6 ranked Dan Hooker, and ultimately taking the #4 spot.During a recent appearance on Ariel Helwani’s MMA Show, “Iron” talked about what he wants next – #1 contender Dustin Poirier, for the belt (assuming retired division.
MMA Junkie: Nikolas Motta set to make UFC debut vs. Damir Hadzovic on May 8; MMA Junkie: Defining Fights: UFC 259's Petr Yan; MMAFighting.com: ONE roundup: Fights set for Marcus ‘Buchecha’ Almeida, Colby Northcutt, and ‘Reug Reug’ in April; MMA Junkie: MMA Junkie's 'Fight of the Month' for February: Former teammates fight for gold; MMA Junkie: Defining Fights: UFC 259's Aljamain.© MMA Fighting
The Great Divide is a recurring feature here at MMA Fighting in which two of our staff debate a topic in the world of MMA – news, a fight, a crazy thing somebody did, a crazy thing somebody didn’t do, or some moral dilemma threatening the very foundation of the sport — and try to figure out a resolution. We’d love for you to join in the discussion in the comments below.
With Conor McGregor returning to action, all eyes were on this past Saturday’s UFC 257 pay-per-view, and that meant the platform was perfect for a debuting fighter from a little-known organization called Bellator to potentially steal the show. Michael Chandler was given the UFC’s blessing and an unheard of promotional push for a fighter initially booked as a replacement for the UFC 254 main event. In a co-main event spot against Dan Hooker, one of the toughest outs at 155, all he had to do was deliver.
Sure enough, Chandler needed just half a round to land a power punch that Hooker wouldn’t recover from. Chandler nailed the win, the celebration, and the post-fight promo, and he left UFC President Dana Whitestruggling to remember a better octagon debut.
But we know better, don’t we? There have been plenty of future champions who burst onto the scene in unforgettable fashion. And who knows, perhaps we’ll still be saying the same about Chandler in the future. For now, allow MMA Fighting’s Jed Meshew and Alexander K. Lee to help jog White’s memory with their picks for the most impactful debuts in UFC history.
Meshew: Let me start by saying that Michael Chandler’s UFC debut was nothing short of brilliant. Trust me, I’m a well known Chandler hater – for a lot of great reasons, might I add – and even I have to admit that he’s in the conversation for best UFC debuts. But being in the conversation and being at the top are two different animals entirely.
When Anderson Silva made his UFC debut in 2006, he was far from “The Spider” the world of MMA went on to fear. Was he impressive? Absolutely. He was the Cage Rage middleweight champion and coming off of the Tony Fryklundreverse-elbow knockout. Was he expected to win? Sure. Silva was a -200 betting favorite. But was he expected to do THAT? Hell no he wasn’t!
What’s been forgotten since Silva’s debut 15 years ago is that Chris Leben was no joke as a fighter. Coming into the fight, Leben was 15-1 in MMA, a former WEC middleweight champion and 5-0 in the UFC. If the UFC had rankings at the time, Leben likely would have been nestled safely in the top-10. Perhaps more importantly though, Leben was tough. Far from a technical savant, Leben was still a handful as he packed big power in his hands and had proven to have one of the best chins in the sport. Benji Radach—a very solid fighter at the time—did everything short of hit Leben with a baseball bat and couldn’t get him out of there. No one could. Leben’s chin was uncrackable. Until Anderson.
Anderson Silva eviscerated Chris Leben. There’s really no other word for it. He took a man renowned for his chin and nuked him in less time than it takes to make a sandwich. In 49 seconds, he folded Leben up like a lawn chair, landing 17 of 20 strikes and taking only one in return. Stop and think about that for a second. In his UFC debut, Anderson Silva came in against a very tough dude and was basically untouchable while landing 85 percent of his strikes. That’s impossible. I’m looking at the numbers right now and I still kind of don’t believe it. The only reason I do is because of all that Anderson went on to accomplish. In every sense of the word, it was a perfect debut for Silva.
Perhaps the thing that makes Anderson’s debut so impressive is just how dismissive it was. In most MMA fights, either guy has the potential to win. Sure, in many matchups one guy will win more often than the other. But usually, there still exists the possibility for a puncher’s chance for even the most impotent of foes. Pick any of the other choices for “best UFC debut.” If you remade those fights 100 times, you’d get a different outcome at least occasionally.
Not so with this one. If you ran Silva-Leben back 100 times, the only thing different that would happen is after four of them someone would call the police for what you were doing to poor Leben.
Another thing to consider when talking about any UFC debut is the fighter’s next move. Ben Askren (sorta kinda) submitted Robbie Lawler in his UFC debut, and yet no one is rushing to put him on this list because he then got knocked out in five seconds in his very next fight. With debuts like Chandler, it’s too early to rate it properly. If he goes on to win the lightweight belt, coax Khabib Nurmagomedov out of retirement, and then upset the GOAT, Chandler’s debut rockets up the list. If he ends up being the next Will Brooks, it fades into obscurity. Whereas with Silva, we know what happened next. He did the same thing to Rich Franklin and went on to become the GOAT (at least for a time).
Entering into the UFC, Silva was far from a known commodity. Back in 2006, MMA had only just broken into the mainstream consciousness on the back of The Ultimate Fighter. The bulk of the fan base, at least in North America, lived in a UFC bubble. Yes, there were hardcore fans who knew who Anderson was (and that he had nearly fought Matt Hughes for the UFC welterweight strap in 2002). But it was Leben, a focal point of TUF, who was the star. After this fight, that was no longer the case. In 49 seconds, Anderson validated all the hype surrounding him and then some.
Lee: When it comes to fighters making the leap from a well-known North American promotion to the premier fight promotion in the world, nobody did it better than Ronda Rousey.
To be fair, Rousey was plenty famous before signing with the UFC. She would turn out to be the most important piece of the Strikeforce acquisition, which included stars and future stars Alistair Overeem, Dan Henderson, Nick Diaz, Gilbert Melendez, Daniel Cormier, Fabricio Werdum, Gegard Mousasi, Ronaldo Souza, Yoel Romero, and Luke Rockhold, among others. Take a look at those names again and realize that by the time Rousey’s fighting career was done, she’d leave a more significant impact on MMA than all of them.
But let’s not get ahead of ourselves. If all Rousey and opponent Liz Carmouche did was participate in both the first-ever women’s fight and first-ever women’s main event in the UFC, they would still have their names etched in history. UFC President Dana White had been quoted as saying that women would never compete in his promotion. He changed the rules for Rousey, and in doing so, changed the entire business.
By the time UFC 157 rolled around on Feb. 23, MMA was well into its boom period. UFC or not, a personality like Rousey wasn’t going to stay a secret for long. Her Strikeforce days saw her become a known commodity even among the casual crowd. She made the media rounds, received profiles from major publications, and even landed on the cover of the 2012 edition of ESPN’s Body Issue.
Still, fame and success were not guaranteed. While Gina Carano and Cris Cyborg had paved the way for women’s MMA to break into the mainstream, Carano chose to continue growing her profile by going Hollywood, and Cyborg had to take a detour through Zuffa-affiliate Invicta FC before joining the UFC due to it not having a featherweight division. It fell on Rousey and Carmouche to get this thing going.
Putting extra pressure on Rousey was the fact that upon becoming a member of the UFC roster, she was immediately upgraded from Strikeforce bantamweight champion to inaugural UFC women’s bantamweight champion. Featherweight champion Jose Aldo and men’s bantamweight champion had received similar promotions when they came over from the WEC, and they had both lived up to their reputations, so Rousey couldn’t afford to lay an egg unless she wanted the honor of being the UFC’s first female champion to always have an asterisk next to it. Phantasy star online 2 pc download.
The fight turned out to be a thriller, with Carmouche briefly threatening to upset Rousey with a rear-naked choke. But Rousey was able to turn the tables and use her signature armbar to secure a history-making win with a little over 10 seconds left in the opening round. It was more than a proof of concept that women’s MMA had a place at the UFC table. It showed they could sit at the head of it.
“Is this real life right now, I’m not sure.” Rousey said to Joe Roganafter the fight.
Rogan, ever the company man, further hyped the moment: “Ronda, congratulations, you are not just the first UFC women’s champion, you are a real representative of women’s athletics, you are a true champion. Congratulations, it’s an honor to call your first fight.”
It was billed as a momentous occasion, and it couldn’t have gone better for the UFC. Rousey was going to be a major star even if she’d lost, but her dramatic performance guaranteed her name would soon be ubiquitous in the MMA scene and for years to come. The PPV reportedly sold 450,000 buys, perhaps bolstered by names like Lyoto Machida, Dan Henderson and Urijah Faber being on the card. But the lion’s share of the credit has to go to Rousey. She went on to headline or co-headline four UFC PPVs that would crack the 900,000 buy mark.
There may have been debuts more impressive from a visual standpoint (Michel Pereira, anyone?), more dominant, and even more exciting (hi Justin Gaethje). But none were more important for the UFC than Rousey staking her claim to fame in Anaheim, Calif., on that fateful February night.
MMA fighter salaries have exploded in recent years as the UFC has gone from the brink of bankruptcy to a thriving sport of world fame. Fighters used to get in the cage for pride and few dollars. Now they’re jumping in the cage for pride and $millions. Even number ten on out list of richest MMA fighters have earned a whopping $12million. Not bad given where the sport was in the nineties.
Let’s start at the top. The richest MMA fighter on our list is worth a cool $25million and all the fighters in the top ten are pulling in salaries with eight digits. Work your way down the list and the popularity of UFC means that televised fighters are picking up six figure salaries for a few annual appearances in the cage. Away from the big screen, second tier fighters can look to earn $10k to $50k a year, dependent on how many times they fight and how successful they are in the cage. The official MMA average salary stands $34,400 but that includes the huge contracts for the richest MMA fighters. So those far down the rung are looking at something smaller than a Domino’s delivery boy.
Rewind 20 years and not many people wanted a piece of the UFC. It was all boxers biting off ears and overpaid pansies in supposed contact sports. But since the turn of the millennium, MMA has gone from forgotten fringe sport to a supreme financial triumph. MMA fighters have seen the biggest percentage raise in salaries out of any sport since the year 2000. So the richest MMA fighters are no longer just rich for their sport, they’re up there with the top athletes from many world sports. It’s not quite reached the level of boxing, but the richest MMA fighters are now easily rivaling football and soccer stars. And after the drab none-event of Mayweather Pacquiao, the gap might continue to narrow. If that was the fight of the century, then boxing is on its way out. Popularity equals money in sport. More people want to watch MMA and more people will shell out for PPV. And that money has been spiraling the richest MMA fighters to $multimillion salaries.
As you scroll through our list of richest MMA fighters you might be surprised at some of the inclusions. This isn’t about the best MMA fighters, it’s about those that can pull in the audiences and make the huge bucks. To understand how they make their money you have to split up what happens in and out of the cage.
MMA fighters are paid for each time they go in the cage. Different fighters will have different contracts. At a lower level, MMA fighters are paid for each individual fight, with their appearance fee increasingly dependent on their popularity and success. The richest MMA fighters tend to sign multi-fight deals, meaning they’re committed to a certain number of bouts within a particular time frame. For every fight there’s a fixed appearance fee, kind of like a base salary. On top of that, the richest MMA fighters are able to negotiate cuts on the gate money. All the fighters slugging it out on pay-per-view will also be picking up a cut of the global TV revenue. It’s these figures that really push salaries into the stratosphere. Some of the fighters aon our list of the richest MMA fighters are pulling in over 1million global PPV viewers. Which is huge money.
All this is just for appearing. MMA fighters will also receive bonuses dependent on the outcome of the fight. The two universal bonuses are for winning the bout and scoring a knockout. At a lower professional level, these bonuses can dwarf the appearance fees, meaning it’s not just pride on the line, it’s a guy’s livelihood. The differences aren’t as pronounced at the highest level but the richest MMA fighters are also picking up prize money for continuing to hold championship titles. For example, UFC Light Heavyweight Champion Jon Jones ranks number 11 – just outside our list – despite getting dropped by all his sponsors. He’s earning everything in the cage.
MMA fighters are now celebrities and they’ve finally managed to garner some global recognition for their sport. Back in the 90’s, big brands didn’t want to be associated with MMA. Now they can’t get enough of it. Most pro MMA fighters will have endorsement deals. At a lower level these might be from local sponsors. The top guys have huge endorsement deals with players like Nike, Gatorade, and even Burger King, especially those like Anderson Silva who become one of the biggest athletes in their native country. These deals are based on their success and visibility. Nike isn’t interested in a guy who spends 364 days a year in a secluded Siberian training camp. They want athletes who are constantly in the media and in the cage, guys who are always showing off the little Nike tick. So as lower level MMA fighters get recognition they fall into the eye line of bigger and bigger sponsors. And there’s a fine line between good press and bad press. Misdemeanors and controversy out of the cage can mean a contract getting cancelled. It can also mean a contract bonus as the fighters generate publicity.
FightState has compiled net worth to reveal the rundown of the richest MMA fighters of all time. Read through to see who’s been making their money in the cage and who’s been generating huge net worth outside the cage.