September 5, 2022

How Much Do MMA Fighters Make?

You have been training MMA for years. Now you’re confident that you can knock down your opponent. You thought of taking part in a MMA fight to make some money. But do you know how MMA fighters make money? And how much do they make as a fighter?

How much an MMA fighter makes depends on their experience and the number of fights they take part in. The pay could be anywhere from $2000 to $100k. An average UFC fighter makes $138,250 in 2018. But again, it all depends on the fighter’s skills, experience and how long the fighter has been in the industry. 

Apart from fighting in the UFC, an MMA fighter can also make money by training people. Each fighter has a different earning graph. If you’re new to the industry and don’t have a reputed agent, you might end up making no money at all. 

The earning also depends on how often the fighter fights and how popular they’re as a fighter. 

mma gloves taking us dollars to beat on

MMA Fighters – Sources of Income

Fighting is the primary source of income for MMA fighters. Every fighter has a base salary if they’re fighting in the UFC. Some fighters are eligible for a win bonus if their base salary is low. As the fighters keep gaining popularity, their base salary also keeps rising. 

Gaining popularity depends on fighters fighting records and their market value. Fighting is not enough to pull out high paying cheque. Every fighter has to build his audience. The more people like him and the higher their demand, higher will be the paychecks. 

An average fighter makes around $138250 per year, which is $11500 a month. The paychecks look good for a third world fighter. But if the fighter is from the USA, he is living below the average yearly income. 

1. Base Salary – Base salaries are salaries given to every fighter for taking part in the fight. They get the money even if they lose the fight.

A reputed and on-demand fighter has a higher base salary compared to new fighters. A fighter that has a good fighting status can negotiate the base salary. The base salary can be anywhere from $1500 to a million dollars. 

2. Fight Night Bonuses – Fight night is another way how MMA fighters make money fighting. But it all depends on how the audience is reacting. If the fighter gives his best and performs above expectations. He might get the title “fight of the night” or “performance of the night” and an award with $50000 as cash price. 

3. Win Bonuses – Win bonuses are bonuses given to those who win the fight game. These types of bonuses are given to low base salary fighters. A fighter with a high base salary doesn’t receive win bonuses. 

4. Illegal Underground Fight – Not all fighters take part in this game. But there are lots of amateurs who take part and make tons of money by illegal fighting. These fights are risky and illegal. There are no rules in the fight. The person who wins takes the money. 

5. Sponsorships –  Under the sponsorships of UFC Reebok every fighter with 3 or fewer fights receives $3500. A fighter receives $5000 for every 4 or more fights. Before Reebok sponsorship entered the game. The fighter receives sponsorships from independent sponsors and makes tons of money. 

This is largely similar to how boxers make money.

MMA Fighter – Money through Advertising

Apart from fighting, MMA fighters can also make money advertising. To make money through advertising the fighter has to be the best of the best., like a movie superstar, he has to have a huge fan following. 

Conor McGregor acts as an advertising model for Burger King. The more popular the fighter,, the higher their demand will be outside the ring. MNCs like Burger King have a huge budget for advertisement. One advertisement deal can make the fighter more money than the money they make in a year fighting. 

Other than Fighting and Advertising, how can MMA fighters make money? 

1. Coaching and Training Classes

MMA is the second-most-watched combat sport in the world. People are also taking up MMA classes for self-defense training. There are thousands and thousands of people who want to learn MMA martial arts.

If you have been an MMA fighter or if you’re still in the game. You can make money training and coaching beginners. You can also give one-on-one personal training with a little higher fee. 

Training and coaching are some of the most lucrative businesses in the world. Be it in the ring or coaching, you have to impress your audience. If your students like your training,  they will recommend more students to you. Higher the number of students higher the income. 

There are people who are making more money than the MMA fighters by giving coaching and training. MMA is a skill not everybody knows. If you think you’re good at it. You can build a training institute and make more than you make by fighting.

2. Online Training 

Training is not limited to a specific geographical location. With the help of the internet you can make money training online. Though you’ll need a bit of investment in the initial stage. Online training can be very profitable if you give the right information to MMA lovers. 

Before you start training online. You have to build your audience and show your expertise in the field. You can fight and still make money online. Hire a freelancer and build a website, you can outsource every single work. 

Once you get a decent amount of monthly visitors. You can announce an MMA training course. Or if you don’t want the headache of building a website, writing blogs and marketing. You can create a course and sell it on Udemy and other course selling platforms.

Teaching online doesn’t need to be hard. You can still make money from online training while you pursue your MMA fighting career. You only need 1 hour a day to create an online course. There is no guarantee that you’ll make money as soon as you enter the UFC fight. Why not make some money while you struggle to make your name to the top fighter list. 

Also, have a look at how much do referees make.

3. Write a book about MMA

The internet has exploded with ebooks in recent years. These days every person with a skill or knowledge is publishing books and making money. Some are even making a living out of it. If you’re an experienced and expert MMA fighter, you can make money by writing books about MMA. 

Writing and selling books about MMA on amazon or print form is a profitable side income. You don’t have to be a writer to make money by books. There are tons of writers who would love to write your book.  

If you have a website it gets way easier for you to market and sell your books. There are hungry people out there who are looking for raw and first-hand information. You can be that person who gives the right and accurate information to the public. 

Don’t underestimate the income of the book business. There are people who become millionaires by writing and selling books. If you’re an experienced MMA fighter you can share your story, techniques and make money. 

4. Youtube 

Another great way to earn as an MMA fighter is to share your expertise on youtube. Make a video and share your journey, fight and opinion on youtube. 

MMA is an exciting game. You as a professional fighter won’t take long to start earning from Youtube. You can even make money by promoting UFC and ESPN if they would pay you for promoting. 

Youtube Channel of Mater Wong as of March, 2020

You could do lots of things with youtube. You can do affiliate marketing for a product that you use for fighting and training. Affiliate marketing is a great way to make money. You could do product reviews and get free products and gears. 

Youtube is an endless money-making loophole if you’re an expert. One youtube channel might make you more money than the money you make fighting in a year. The options are endless. People love MMA, you can give tips to MMA beginners in video form. 

And again, you don’t have to stop fighting. Fighting is a passion, pursue it but try making some money from your expertise side by side. As per the statistics, beginner fighters don’t even make as much as the average American does. The internet has opened up lots of options to make money. Share your skills and make money. 


MMA fighters make money as per their popularity and fighting records. But to be at the top list of the chart, they need lots of fights and hard work. You’ll not make much initially but there is always an option to make money outside the ring. 

At the end of the day, it’s all about building an audience. The more people know you and like your fight. The more they will be willing to pay to watch your fight. 

Online is the best way to build an audience. The people who are learning from you outside the ring are very likely to come and see your fight. The only thing that will take you to the top fighter list is your fight and your audience. Remember money is man-made and it follows passionate people. 

Eugene Hardy

Eugene is a professional Muay Thai fighter, with several years of experience. Also, a black belt holder. He actively participates in tournaments and provides training to his students. Eugene started this blog to share his experiences with Martial Arts.

View all posts by Eugene Hardy →

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