Trying to figure out UFC fighter pay is a tricky thing. While many athletic commissions across the United States demand that promotions release the details on how much all fighters on their cards earn, the UFC has largely gotten around this by restructuring they way they pay their athletes. Gone are the days when all the money is made in-show with win purses on the night of the fight. We’re now well into the days of signing incentives, locker room bonuses, and pay-per-view cuts.
Things are so hazy that even legit money focused publications like Forbes and Fortune can’t offer more than estimates on what they think is going on based off the few contracts from UFC stars that have leaked. Ronda Rousey’s earnings are estimated at between $1 million and $5 million per fight. Conor McGregor might have made $3.5 million to $8 million off his fight with Aldo. Who knows for sure? The insiders at the UFC, and one of them just commented on how much Holly Holm is set to make off a Ronda Rousey rematch. Here’s UFC commentator Joe Rogan on his podcast (via news.com.au):
“Financially, the Holly Holm fight with Ronda is the biggest fight for Holly Holm. Holly Holm’s going to make like $7 million. She doesn’t want to wait, she wants to stay active and I totally understand that, and I think it should be her prerogative as a champion to choose. But financially that’s the smart move for her because she’s going to make the most money.”
Rogan isn’t just a commentator for the UFC, he’s close friends with Dana White and the Fertitta brothers, the owners of the league. He knows the real pay-per-view numbers and probably more about all the different ways the UFC kicks money back to its athletes than anyone outside the company. So that figure is most likely pretty accurate. Factoring in the bump in pay Holm makes as champion and the crazy numbers a Rousey rematch would pull (the first fight sold more than 1.1 million pay-per-views) and $7 million isn’t unreasonable at all.