The popularity of MMA is on the rise in the last few years, thanks to its celebrity fighters like Conor McGregor and Ronda Rousey. This newfound fame has attracted a lot of athletes to the world of mixed martial arts. But is the sport worth the effort? Do fighters make a lot of money?
There is a big gap in earning between famous fighters and the not so famous ones. Just like boxing, if a reputed fighter gets into a ring, he will make a lot of money. And if the fighter is a nobody, he may go home with a broken bone and a measly $1000.
Top fighters like McGregor fills up the seats and brings in a lot of money by increasing the pay-per-view numbers. He would also make a lot of money by endorsements. For example, they says the fight between the Irish man and Floyd Mayweather Jr in 2017 was the biggest money fight ever. Even after losing the fight, McGregor took home $100 million while Mayweather won $300 million.
In 2018, a quarter of UFC fighters earned $138,000. But that is not considering the expense of coaching, medical, fitness training, etc. About 37% (or a quarter) of UFC fighters made less than the average US household income of $45,000. This number is bound to increase in the coming years as the number of PPV viewers increase.
When you start at the bottom of the list in prelims, you cannot count on fight money to survive. But once you get recognition as a fighter, you can rake in money. But until that point, there are only broken bones and training and training. As a fighter, you should be ok with that.