Khabib Nurmagomedov was guaranteed a tiny payment for his first UFC bout. The former lightweight champion earned just 8000 dollars to show. In MMA, the athletes’ pay is usually split equally as ‘show’ and ‘win’ money with champions getting a slice of the PPV on top of that.
Khabib Nurmagomedov was undefeated in his MMA career with a total of 29 professional fights. During his active time as an MMA athlete, the 33-year old always dominated his opponents.
Khabib Nurmagomedov wasn’t popular when he joined the biggest MMA promotion in the world.
‘The Eagle’ signed a deal with the UFC in 2011, and had his first UFC bout the next year against Kamal Shalorus. $8000 to show might’ve even been slightly above what a debutant makes at the time.
Khabib was guaranteed $8000 for his promotional debut and an additional $8000 for the win.
A decade later, MMA journalist John Nash revealed Khabib was the single best paid athlete on the UFC roster thanks to serving as a go between between Saudi Arabia and the corporation and facilitating UFC cards in Dubai.
“I’ve heard from multiple sources that the highest guaranteed check ever is probably Khabib,” Nash told Luke Thomas. “It was at least six million but I heard it was probably maybe ten million dollars guaranteed for his last couple…”
Nurmagomedov subsequently retired and wasn’t swayed by lucrative boxing offers.
. Khabib also added that money was never his number one motivation to compete in combat sports.
“Of course money makes sense but I never fight for money. Money is good, but most of the time it is bad. Money brings you to a situation that you have never been in, and you don’t know how to act when you have so much money.”
“It is a little bit dangerous. In this business, I don’t come to make money. I come here for legacy.” Khabib said during his appearance in Hotboxin with Mike Tyson.
Currently, Khabib focuses his career as a promoter of Eagle FCm, an MMA promotion. In December 2020, he bought the Gorilla Fighting Championship (GFC) and renamed it. Many former UFC fighters are competing within this promotion, including Diego Sanchez, Kevin Holland, Junior Dos Santos and Rashad Evans.