UFC Athletes Are Underpaid So Let’s Talk Money

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Jon Jones & Jorge Masvidal Twitter Rants

Jon Jones and Jorge Masvidal have both recently went to Twitter to let the world know that UFC Athletes are underpaid. Now that the dust has settled and everyone is over their knee jerk reactions. I am going to take a look at if they are paid enough or not from my standpoint. I’m also going to compare them to a like value organization in the New England Patriots.

The UFC is worth around four billion dollars. Roughly the same amount the New England Patriots are worth. For now, I am going to leave out the expenditures of putting on events vs playing games. This is strictly about salary. This is going to run under the assumption that because the brands are valued the same their margins are the same. But I am willing to bet if we dig deeper you will find the Patriots will have a higher profit margin.

Athlete Salaries If They Were Paid Like NFL Players

So we are going to use the 2019 salary of the Patriots and see how far that amount of Athlete salary would get you in the UFC.

New England Patriots paid its 89 contracted players a total amount of $227,526,582. Those players participated in 4 preseason games and 16 regular-season games. Not including any postseason or pro bowl bonuses.

Now the UFC has 588 active fighters on its roster, not including Refs, Judges, Analysts, Doctors, or Athletic Commission. If the UFC paid a flat rate per year to each signed fighter than each fighter would receive around $387K. But that’s not how this works. The UFC is a play to pay meaning fighter have to compete to earn their salaries. So let’s look at the number of fights the UFC put on 473 fights last year. Which means two people need to get paid each fight. That’s 946 paychecks to Athletes. Which would put the average paycheck at $240,514.35. Is this the best route? Pay all fighters the same? HELL NO! The stars need and should earn more.

But How Much More

Conor McGregor is the top earner in the UFC. In his fight with Khabib Nurmagomedov he earned just over 3 million as a base salary. Obviously he didn’t get the win bonus but he did get his share of PPV buys and Sponsorships which combined with his base salary is upwards of $50 million.

Can other fighters create that type of draw? The short answer is no, Conor has transcended the sport. So what about Jon Jones and Jorge Masvidal? Well if the biggest name in the sport is fighting for $3 Million how could a business afford to pay other top fighters any more than that amount?

Its Hard To Say

The UFC isn’t as profitable as it looks but the pay to the fighters does need to increase. At the very least allow them to bring back their sponsorship banners. The UFC is at the bottom of every major sport and is one that the Athletes have yet to develop a union. There a few out there pushing for a union like UFC vet Mark Hunt. The UFC is a young and developing organization and it will take its top fighters to push for better pay. My opinion is being between the MLS and CFL there has to be room for improvement.

Joe Rogan believes that UFC Athletes are underpaid.

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