The revenue split between the UFC and its fighters is a controversial issue in the sport of MMA. Most major sports organizations seem to distribute a sizeable share of their revenue to their athletes, but the UFC appears to be lagging behind. Let’s take a look at the numbers:
What is the revenue split between the UFC and it’s fighters?
Based on June 2021 court filings in a class-action antitrust lawsuit against the UFC, the UFC pays less the 20% of its revenue to fighters. This is much less than what most professional sports organizations offer their athletes.
What do other major sports organizations pay their athletes?
The 20% of revenue the UFC pays its athletes is remarkably low when compared to most major governing bodies in sports. The NBA, NHL, MLB, and NFL all pay around 50% of their revenue to their athletes. In a recent interview, UFC President Dana White pushed back against critics, pointing to the constant rate at which fighter pay is rising every year and the various opportunities such as sponsorship that now exist for fighters.
How can UFC fighters get a higher percentage of the UFC revenue?
The current UFC athletes’ best chance at increasing the percentage of revenue that goes towards fighter pay is to form a union. There are many obstacles to making a union a reality, but it is the best chance UFC fighters have to increase fighter pay across the board.
Is there a UFC fighters union?
No, currently there is no formal union for UFC fighters.
Is there an MMA fighters union?
For a brief time in 2016, there was the Mixed Martial Arts Athletes Association (MMAAA). The MMAAA had the backing of UFC stars George St-Pierre, T.J. Dillashaw, Donald Cerrone, Cain Velasquez, and Tim Kennedy. Unfortunately, the effort didn’t last. The stars quickly jumped ship for various reasons, and the union fell apart.
Do other Mixed Martial Arts organizations pay better than the UFC?
It depends on who you ask, and who you are as a fighter. For some fighters, the answer is yes – Cris Cyborg for example left the UFC to go to Bellator and reports higher overall earnings through fight pay in addition to more relaxed rules regarding sponsorship.
Other leagues like the Professional Fight League have a $1 million prize for season winners.