UFC Fighters Complain Over Pay

Aaron Paik, Reporter

Through the years, the Ultimate Fighting Championship, or UFC, has established itself as the most popular organization of mixed martial arts (MMA) in the world. From fighters spanning from over 70 countries, to over 700 active fighters, it’s apparent that the UFC is a massive organization. Despite the major surge in popularity in the past decade, there has been a major increase in numbers of fighters complaining about their pay. 

According to Sports Daily, the average income of a UFC fighter in 2020 was $160,022. 

At surface level that might not seem like the fighters are being underpaid, however that number is greatly skewed considering the fact that some fighters make more than 300 times the amount than other fighters. 

Another statistic shows that 19% of the UFC made less than $25,332 in 2021, which is considered below the poverty line. 

“I feel that UFC Fighters do deserve higher pay because they are putting their life on the line for their job and for others’ entertainment,” sophomore Rocco Gambino said.  

Not only are the low-tier fighters underpaid. Heavyweight Champion Francis Ngannou made $600,00 for his last fight, compared to WBC Heavyweight Champion Tyson Fury making $27 million in his last fight. 

Not only do fighters feel as if they are underpaid, they also have to pay for other expenses. UFC fighter Myles Jury explained that 5-10% of a fighter’s purse goes to the gym and training camp. 

Another 30% is given to all the coaches. On top of that, the fighters have to pay for their own medical expenses, which can easily add up to thousands of dollars. 

The pay has been considered so bad to the point where UFC fighters are considering quitting MMA to pursue boxing. A professional athlete switching their whole entire sport is almost unheard of. 

A prime example of this is Ngannou. With already prior issues with UFC President Dana White, Ngannou claimed that before his bout during UFC 270, that a UFC representative texted him about a potential lawsuit about claims of Ngannou pursuing boxing.  

“I feel like Dana White is always making money moves and just trying to make as much money as possible,” Sophomore Nate Kim said. “However, I feel for the fighters because they are sacrificing their health, time, and hard work despite the pay.” The fighters are quick to speak out about their pay, but the UFC is just as fast as silencing the fighters.