MMA had the fastest Growing Salaries Over the Past 5 Years

(Photo by Mike Roach/Zuffa LLC)

Parimatch has investigated the salaries of the top 100 earning UFC fighters and compared their salaries against the top-earning athletes in other major sports from 2015-2021. 

The salaries of UFC fighters often cause controversy in the media. Fighters will publicly discuss how they’re underpaid when compared to athletes from other sports and payment disputes during contract negotiations have even caused fighters to vacate their own championship titles. While on the other hand, UFC’s biggest star Conor McGregor was reported to be the world’s highest-paid athlete earlier last year.

This study analyses the financial data to determine whether MMA fighters have been underpaid during that period and how their earnings compare to other sports. 

Data study reveals MMA as the fastest growing sport financially over the past five years

  • UFC fighter earnings have increased 15% annually on average over the past five years, this is more than any other league in the study including the Premier League & NBA  
  • Despite the growth, on average a top NBA player’s salary will be over 40 times more than a UFC fighter’s earnings in a year 
  • Conor McGregor is the world’s highest paid athlete but the majority of his earnings came from product endorsements and his own business ventures 
Sport Avg. Salary of Top 100 Avg. No of Matches Per Match Earnings 
NFL  $11,933,322  17 $701,960 
UFC  $527,922  1.5 $351,948 
NBA  $23,292,173  82 $284,051 
EPL  $10,283,789  38 $270,626 
MLB  $19,624,111  162 $121,136 
PGA  $3,014,698  25 $120,588 
NHL  $6,055,600  56 $108,136 

At face value, fighters competing in the UFC do get paid significantly less than players in other major sports. On average, a top fighter would have received $351,948 from the UFC in 2020. Whereas an NBA star playing for one of the major teams could have easily made more than 40 times the amount a UFC fighter would make.  

You can view the research here:


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