UFC is owned by a publicly traded company which means there’s some factual reporting on the subject of athlete pay.
As per their own documents, UFC athletes are compensated with only 17% – 19% of revenue an event brings in. This means that most of UFC roster is struggling to make ends meet.
While there are regularly false reports about estimated earnings – the actual first hand reports are a lot more underwhelming.
Paulo Costa is currently in the middle of a contentious negotiation. Costa wants to become a free agent – in order to maximize his leverage after getting just $60,000 to face former UFC champion Luke Rockhold at UFC 278.
Costa is no exception. A number of prominent athletes come from feeder systems like Dana White’s Contender Series and TUF – which end with athletes signing $10,000 to show (plus $10,000 to win) contracts.
During an interview with The MMA Hour, longtime middleweight top-contender Jared Cannonier explained that he owed a lot of money to coaches, gym, management, and medical. According to The Athletic, he revealed that UFC athletes took home only around 40% of their payment for an outing.
Recently, a former WWE star “Triple H” revealed a minimum payment for a member of the WWE roster.
Triple H, who is now the Chief Content Officer of WWE, revealed their main roster receive a minimum $250,000 a year. This number can only go higher with additional PPV bonus and any merchandise bonus.
WWE snatched a contract with US Olympic Gold medalist Gable Stevenson a while back. Stevenson expressed regret that UFC wasn’t willing to put up a competitive offer saying:
“I’ve seen a lot of tweets that Dana wanted me in Contender Series but I don’t even know because me and Dana only had a couple of text messages saying like ‘hey come to Vegas’ but I was at SummerSlam and I couldn’t make it to him,” Stevenson said.
“I didn’t ditch him. We barely spoke. I know he wanted me to come.”
“I don’t know where the Contender Series thing came about on the news and stuff. We barely spoke and Vince had the upper hand. I’ve been knowing WWE longer than UFC so I wanted to start my path there. I had no clue about [the Contender Series].”