UFC’s Burns claims MMA judges severely underpaid – gets fact checked by a journalist who previously confirmed it

UFC welterweight Gilbert Burns recently expressed concern over how little he believes MMA judges are compensated for their work. In an interview with Homeoffight, Burns questioned how judges can be expected to do a great job when they are allegedly only making $300 per event.

“How much you think those judges make for a UFC show? $3000? How much you think $10,000 guys are making, bro? They make $300 for the event in the bag and $500 a pay-per-view,” Burns stated. “Now, you got me thinking, like, how come you’re going to ask the judge to do a great job if the commission’s not paying these guys?”

However, Burns’ claim about judges only earning $300 per UFC event appears to be inaccurate based on a recent release from the Nevada State Athletic Commission (NSAC) about the pay for officials at UFC 296.

For the December 16th, 2023 pay-per-view event in Las Vegas, the NSAC revealed that referees Marc Goddard and Herb Dean were paid $2,600 each to officiate the co-main and main event title fights, respectively. The three judges assigned to each title bout were paid $2,300 apiece.

So rather than the $300 figure cited by Burns, judges working the two UFC 296 championship bouts earned substantially more at $2,300 per person for what was one of the biggest events of the year for the promotion.

While the NSAC payment figures are specific to Nevada, they likely indicate that judges are making higher amounts for UFC events in other states and regions as well, as the UFC traditionally pays officials more than most other MMA promotions.

California State athletic comission previously released that judges were making $1,600 per event, as per MMA journalist Aaron Bronsteter.

Interestingly, last year it was Bronsteter that pointed the public’s attention to how horrible the pay was.