Final summer time I wrote an article trying on the distribution of handbags amongst boxers utilizing the payouts from 11 totally different state athletic commissions (the one ones that may launch such knowledge). On the time, I had deliberate on doing a sequel that regarded on the distribution in pay amongst blended martial arts fighters, having already collected and compiled the info, however for some purpose that article was by no means posted.

Till immediately, that’s.


For this publish I used all of the blended martial arts payouts from each skilled bout held between December 1, 2018 and Could 31, 2019 from the next state athletic commissions: Arizona, California, Florida, Georgia, Massachusetts, New Mexico, Nevada, Ohio, Oregon, Virginia, Washington, and Wisconsin. (Whereas Florida doesn’t launch boxing occasion payouts, they do launch that info for MMA.) There have been a number of purses that the athletic commissions had been unable to supply for a wide range of causes however these lacking purses ended up being lower than 1% of the entire quantity collected. Amongst the lacking purses was one from Bellator and one from the UFC.

Even with the lacking purses, the entire that was given to me was 855 fight-bout purses, from promoters as diverse because the UFC and Bellator, to Iron Boy MMA in Arizona and Ogitchidaa Combat Promotions in Wisconsin.

One caveat with all these purse quantities is that they’re just for what’s reported by the state athletic commissions. The quantity recorded was the “present” purse plus any win bonus, when relevant. Most followers are conscious that some UFC fighters obtain funds that aren’t reported to the athletic commissions. These embody discretionary bonuses, facet letters of settlement, and pay-per-view bonuses. Some Bellator fighters obtain related non-disclosed funds. As well as, UFC efficiency bonuses or “Of the Night time” bonuses weren’t included.

Additionally not included had been any gross sales commissions fighters may obtain for tickets, which is a relatively widespread follow amongst regional promotions. These lacking funds from the smaller promotions are doubtless offset by the variety of barter transactions, be it tickets in lieu of money or purse funds which are contingent on promoting a minimal variety of tickets, that had been reported as an alternative as full funds by the athletic commissions.

Thus, whereas not each purse reported right here is 100% correct, the bulk doubtless are, and in combination ought to function good proximation of the distribution of handbags amongst MMA fighters in these states.

The distribution of all these purses by decile was as follows:

MMA Fighter Pay by Decile

Decile Quantity %
Decile Quantity %
High $14,142,000 80.5
9 $2,379,000 13.5
8 $436,425 2.5
7 $175,250 1
6 $126,040 0.7
5 $99,356 0.6
4 $84,700 0.5
3 $61,684 0.4
2 $46,050 0.3
Backside $24,938 0.1

Complete for decile and share

Maybe not stunning, we see that payouts are very low for many fighters, with the median common solely $1,250. That is noticeable decrease than what we noticed with boxers, whose general median was $2,000. The imply was additionally a lot decrease, as the common boxing purse was greater than thrice as giant as that of MMA fighters. In MMA the imply common purse was $20,556, versus $67,948 for a handbag in boxing. The mode for MMA fighters is was solely $1,000 with roughly 10% of all fighters being paid that quantity.

With regards to distribution virtually all earnings are concentrated on the very high, with the highest 20% of fighters incomes round 94% of all cash in our pattern. Pay is much more concentrated amongst the highest 10%, who earned over 80% of all of the pay within the states collected.

MMA Pay by Decile

Decile Imply Median Minimal Most
Decile Imply Median Minimal Most
Backside 293 300 0 500
2 535 500 500 600
3 726 750 600 800
4 985 1,000 800 1,000
5 1,169 1,200 1,000 1,250
6 1,466 1,500 1,250 1,600
7 2,062 2,000 1,600 2,500
8 5,075 4,000 2,600 10,000
9 27,988 25,000 12,000 50,000
High 164,442 110,000 52,000 500,000
Total 20,556 1,250 0 500,000

For many of the purse distribution, boxers earn greater than MMA fighters. The place we see a MMA fighter premium is across the $10,000 mark, which can also be the UFC minimal. From roughly the 78th percentile ($10,000 for MMA fighters) till the the low 90s (a bit of over $100,000), MMA fighters in these percentile really earned barely greater than their boxing parallels in our state samples. It’s amongst the best few percentiles that boxers not solely as soon as once more overtake MMA fighters, however earn multiples what their sister fight sports activities equal earns. On the similar time, whereas MMA fighters appeared to earn a bit extra from concerning the 80th percentile till the lows 90s, all through many of the distribution boxers appeared to profit from larger reported purses.

From our pattern, 22% of all MMA fighters made the UFC minimal of $10,000 or extra. For essentially the most half, this group was virtually completely made up of UFC and Bellator fighters, with UFC fighters being the bulk. Each UFC fighter reported by the athletic commissions was on this group, whereas 39% of Bellator fighters made no less than $10,000. Solely three different purses out of the opposite reported purses that didn’t belong to a UFC or Bellator fighter made $10,000 or extra. All three in our pattern had been from Combate Americas.

A breakdown of those 186 fighters who reported purses of $10,000 or extra exhibits that 79% had been from the UFC, 19% from Bellator, and a pair of% from Combate. The very best pay amongst the 665 purses that didn’t belong to a UFC, Bellator, or Combate fighter was for $6,000. There was just one different purse amongst all our collected purses pattern a promotion apart from the beforehand named three that paid greater than $5,000.

Wanting over the distribution of MMA purses, and it rapidly turns into apparent that the majority the cash is being earned by UFC fighters, with Bellator fighters claiming most of what little is remaining.

UFC fighters made up simply 17% of the fighter purses we collected but in addition collected 83% of all of the purse cash that was paid out. If Bellator and UFC fighters are tallied up collectively, we now have 28% of all our fighter purses and 95% of the entire quantity of purse cash.

In different phrases, there’s little or no cash to be made by MMA fighters exterior the 2 high promotions. And even between them, the UFC fighters’ earnings in combination dwarf these of Bellator fighters.

This in all probability ought to be of little shock, for the reason that UFC holds the most important share of the MMA market in North America. Because the different promotions are producing a lot much less cash, it solely stands to purpose that the UFC would have the ability to extra simply pay larger purses than their opponents.

High 10% Distribution

High 10% Imply Median Minimal Most
High 10% Imply Median Minimal Most
High 1% 461,111 500,000 400,000 5,000,000
2-5% 198,324 180,000 110,000 350,000
6-10% 75,558 75,000 52,000 106,000

Beforehand after I had checked out MMA and boxing purses, I had damaged down payout between 4 classes.

Low: that are all purses under $1,000.

Center: that are purses between $1,000 and $9,999.

Higher: which is all purses from $10,000 to $199,999.

Elite: which is all purses of $200,000 or larger.

Doing that with our 2019 MMA purses, we discover that:

31.1% of all purses are within the Low class.

47.1% of handbags belong to the Center group.

19.1% of all purses are within the Higher group.

2.7% are within the Elite class.

Regardless that we collected from each potential state athletic fee, our pattern was from solely a small portion of the entire variety of skilled MMA bouts held in the US throughout a 6 month interval. Throughout this time, there have been 341 whole MMA occasions held throughout the US, through which 1642 skilled MMA bouts had been contested. Our pattern represented solely 26% whole variety of purses paid out then.

As with the boxing statistics we posted final yr, our knowledge was closely skewed by the truth that a a lot bigger share of main promotions (on this case the UFC and Bellator) hosted occasions within the states that launched payouts to the general public. The place as we solely collected 26% of all MMA fighters purses in the US throughout that interval, included with these had been 53% of all UFC fights and 39% of all Bellator fights held within the US.

As we noticed earlier, with the higher earners being virtually completely from the UFC — and to a lesser extent Bellator — this oversampling skews the outcomes. If we assume Bellator and UFC distribution may be very related with their different, non-reported occasions, and that the distribution of pay with the non-UFC and Bellator occasions stays fixed in these non-reported states, we will give you a breakdown that higher represents the pay for the overwhelming majority of MMA fighters in the US.

Due to the truth that we additionally know what the purses had been for the PFL finals in December of 2018 ($900,000 for the winner and $200,000 for the runner-up), we will additionally embody these in our knowledge despite the fact that New York was not one of many states that shared payouts.

After adjusting for the variety of main promotions’ occasion purses amongst all MMA occasions we discover that:

36.3% of all purses are within the Low class.

51.7% of handbags belong to the Center group.

10.3% of all purses are within the Higher group.

1.7% are within the Elite class.

Log scale

I’m not positive what number of followers can be stunned to study that the overwhelming majority of pay is concentrated with the highest fighters and with the UFC. This appears to be basic data for those who observe the game, that the UFC, and to a lesser diploma, Bellator and the Skilled Combat League, are the one promotions through which a fighter can earn a “residing wage” in MMA. Exterior the UFC, the Bellator most important playing cards or the PFL event, there are virtually no choices for fighters.



CLICK HERE TO THE ORIGINAL ARTICLE