Friend of our site

MMA Headlines


Bleacher Report

MMA Fighting

MMA Torch

MMA Weekly

Sherdog (News)

Sherdog (Articles)

Liver Kick

MMA Junkie

MMA Mania

Bloody Elbow

MMA Ratings

Rating Fights

Yahoo MMA Blog

Search this site

Latest Articles

News Corner

MMA Rising

Audio Corner


Sherdog Radio

Eddie Goldman

Video Corner

Fight Hub

Special thanks to...

Link Rolodex

Site Index

To access our list of posting topics and archives, click here.

Friend of our site

Buy and sell MMA photos at MMA Prints

Site feedback

Fox Sports: "Zach Arnold's Fight Opinion site is one of the best spots on the Web for thought-provoking MMA pieces."

« | Home | »

Where does the UFC really stand financially?

By Zach Arnold | July 8, 2013

Print Friendly and PDF

The last two weeks have been really strange for the UFC in terms of what’s been discussed in the press. The organization, with UFC 162 this past weekend, started the first of six shows over the next two months where the roster is as busy as one can recall. So many fights and the risk for injury causing a fight to get canceled at the last minute remains high. However, if the shows go off as planned, tons of great fights to watch and positive developments for the UFC.

None of that withstanding, Tim Kennedy recently made comments about fighter pay in the UFC. He just made his UFC debut over the weekend by beating Roger Gracie.

Arguing about fighter pay in the UFC is nothing new. However, with Kennedy’s comments it seemed as if he really hit a nerve with UFC management. Combined with comments made from former fighters like John Cholish, the rabbit ears at Zuffa HQ really have been very sensitive. Within a couple of days, Kennedy was not only backtracking from his fighter pay comments but he was also emasculating himself in the process.

This led to Lorenzo Fertitta via Dana White making some rather curious statements about fighter pay and UFC’s financial situation. Dana responded by claiming that if they have to bump up fighter pay on the undercards, then they will take away the bonus system.

What makes this threat so weird is that the bonus system is a carrot & stick approach for UFC in terms of controlling fighter salaries. Even throwing this empty threat of getting rid of the bonus system is an indication that the tactics management has been using with fighters are not squashing the financial concerns that the fighters have. That whole concept of being grateful for fighting in the only big league in town and all that jazz.

Dana ramped up the rhetoric by saying that all the fighters now want a trophy.

I was waiting for him to drop his old “bitches in a beauty salon” cliche but alas we didn’t get it from the front man.

What has me wondering what’s going on with all these comments is that you would think the UFC is in a good position, financially-speaking, even with some duds buy rates over the last couple of PPVs. However, the squealing from Zuffa HQ is unbecoming and also overly-aggressive as par for the course.

Dana White claimed that this past weekend’s UFC 162 PPV could draw up to 800,000 buys. He claims that a rematch in Newark, New Jersey on Super Bowl Weekend would be the biggest fight in the history of the UFC.

So, where do things stand?

Here’s a note I received from a well-regarded source who pays close attention to the business side of combat sports. My comments after the remarks:

As a result of the UFC’s recent decision to cut more fighters, we are beginning to see a paradigm shift in the MMA fighter pay debate. For the 1st time in the sports history, fighters from both inside and outside the UFC are questioning the organization’s horrible pay. In response to these questions, Dana White recently mentioned that the issue could be solved if the company eliminated fighter bonuses.

To be quite honest, none of this sits well with me from a financial standpoint. For the most part, ownership still states that business is great. If things are so hunky dory, why have so many fighters been cut and/or forced to retire? If the UFC is doing so well, why can’t they afford to pay the low level fighters better and keep bonuses? Is the UFC struggling or is business down a bit and ownership is just too greedy to give up any profit?

To answer these questions and better understand the UFC financial situation, I put together a basic financial analysis of the organization. The numbers below are not meant to be exact figures, but more of a generic guide to help the average fan understand the UFC from a financial standpoint.

Let’s assume that the UFC has…

  • 250 fighters at $100,000/year (including health insurance) = $25 million
  • 200 front office employees (legal, marketing, etc.) at $100,000/year = $20 million
  • $24 million a year for advertising ($2M budget/month)
  • $24 million a year for production costs
  • $6 million a year for office expenses ($500,000/month)
  • $1 million cash-on-hand for incidentals

This is $100 million dollars in combined annual expenses. Since the Fox deal is around that same financial range, let’s make it easy and just estimate that these expenses are paid in full with Fox money. With all the Fox revenue accounted for, look at UFC’s other revenue streams:

  • PPV revenue – average of 500,000 buys at $50 a pop over 12 events = $300 million
  • Tickets & merchandise – $24 million from 12 PPV events
  • Advertising/event sponsorships – $18 million from 12 PPV events
  • = $12 million a year in sales
  • Other – licensing video games, action figures, online video = $1 million a year

You’re looking at $355 million a year. What about remaining expenses?

$450 million debt with Deutsche Bank -> $10 million per month = $120 million per year

Since I don’t have access to all of Zuffa’s books, let’s be extra cautious and budget an additional $10 million a month for expenses missed. After accounting for loan payments and budgeting extra cash for overlooked expenses, UFC’s financial picture could be producing a scenario of $115 million a year in annual profit. If that’s the case, here’s what the payouts would look like if they were taxed at 25%:

  • Frank Fertitta: $34.5 million a year ($2.875 million/monthly, $718,750/week, $102.678.57/daily)
  • Lorenzo Fertitta: $34.5 million a year ($2.875 million/monthly, $718,750/week, $102.678.57/daily)
  • Dana White: $8.625 million a year ($718,750 a month, $179,687/week, $25,669/day)
  • Abu Dhabi owner: $8.625 million a year

If the numbers are close to accurate, it means Zuffa is doing better than expected. With the UFC being so economically strong, Zuffa’s refusal to pay fighters becomes less acceptable. It is now time for fighters to organize a union and fight for every last penny.

The problem for UFC is that if you take away the Fox money, the PPV cash is still the heavy driver of revenue for the organization. That means it’s a volatile situation when buy rates get cold and they have been very cold for the most part. When you lose Brock Lesnar, it hurts. St. Pierre only has a few fights left in his career before retirement. There’s nobody who can step in and automatically draw 750,000 PPV buys for a fight. It’s why they’re putting so many eggs in the Ronda Rousey basket. Will Anderson Silva’s loss against Chris Weidman damage his PPV drawing prospects?

Projecting 500,000 PPV buys a show in the past for the UFC was a lock a couple of years ago. Now? There are some real duds mixed in with success stories, so there’s even more pressure on the drawing cards to really do well on the biggest shows.

This comment kind of sums up my feelings on where things stand right now:

Has there been a bigger disappointment than the UFC’s complete inability to make seemingly *any* new stars/draws since getting on this multi-faceted Fox platform with all of this broad exposure??

Weidman should really be a breakout star…maybe this will be a kingmaking performance, but there’s no buzz on this guy outside hardcore fans trying to rally themselves into buying into him being “the guy to beat Silva”.

Rousey seems to be the only “new” star/draw they have, but Strikeforce and Coker for all of their shortcomings did all the legwork in building up her star.

Shows like Cain/Bigfoot and the Winnipeg event aren’t big revenue producers. Until the core business model changes, UFC will always remain somewhat volatile in terms of how much projected revenue they receive a year. As for the larger point that the fighters are getting screwed, well, that storyline has existed in the media for years and nobody has done anything about it. Until a new organization arrives on the scene to create competition on a significant level, there is no monetary incentive for the UFC to change their business practices. Bellator, being owned by Viacom, was the one group that had a chance to be a player given the resources at their disposal. However, Viacom is interested in running Bellator on the cheap and Spike’s insistence on giving preference to a horribly-run company like TNA over Bellator pretty much tells you everything you need to know.

Topics: Media, MMA, UFC, Zach Arnold | 46 Comments » | Permalink | Trackback |

46 Responses to “Where does the UFC really stand financially?”

  1. Steve4192 says:

    “Viacom is interested in running Bellator on the cheap and Spike’s insistence on giving preference to a horribly-run company like TNA over Bellator pretty much tells you everything you need to know. “

    It’s not just TNA. Bellator is also behind ‘1000 Ways to Die’ and all of their crappy reality shows in the pecking order over at Spike. They are basically low man on the totem pole over there, at least until Glory kickboxing arrives.

  2. William Johnston says:

    It is a violent sport. Pay needs to be increased. Fighters could get seriously injured.

  3. Jason says:

    It’s a business and the purpose of running a business is to make a profit. All the people bitching, feel free to invest your own capital and start up an organization and then you can pay all kinds of money to your fighters.

    The problem with giving out bonuses is people start expecting them, instead of appreciating them as what they are intended for, a bonus. You can make all the assumptions in the world, but until you see the company’s financials, you’re just talking out your a$$ trying to stir sh@#. I’m pretty sure they have a good idea of where they want their expenses to be as a percentage of revenues, while maintaining a solid liquidity and equity position for future growth in addition to having the ability to “weather” any downturns. Why isn’t anyone doing any research or stories into why it costs so much for a training camp. How come nobody is questioning why are coaches and other people charging fighters so much for their services; $100,000 for a good camp as some fighters have said…really?

    • 45 Huddle says:

      And that is the real story. When Tim Kennedy talked about how much of his money went to managers and trainers…. That was the real jaw dropping comments.

    • Simon says:

      And to rely on people like Rob Maysey? So your telling me if I were to gain a bunch of weight, become a shitty attorney, talk shit about the single Organization that is doing big business right now, virtually eliminating any chance of being on their good side, I can be just like Rob Maysey and Zach Arnold will quote me for these quality pieces? Look, if the UFC goes under, 99.9999999987654321% of the mma media will be shit out of luck, just like the rest of the bums of mma fans.

  4. Beau Dure says:

    UFC office jobs pay $100K? Man, no wonder people are always asking Dana for a job.

    I’ve long figured undercard pay is too low and bonuses are too high. You get $8K for a fight but $50K if you land a lucky punch? Seems backward.

  5. cutch says:

    If the UFC needed they could get rid of a quarter of the under card and spread it round the rest of the card, at least for non PPV shows. Do FX & Fuel cards really need to be 12 fight deep? They would probably do similar ratings on Fuel with Florian and Sonnen just discussing the main card and I doubt Facebook are paying much if anything for their fights (although it is good advertising being on there)

    The UFC’s main revenue growth in future should be International TV deals but the one problem they have is giving cards in Asia & Europe relevant fights due to the time difference, without taking anything away from their core Business in North & South America.

    • Steve4192 says:

      “If the UFC needed they could get rid of a quarter of the under card and spread it round the rest of the card”

      I fail to see how ‘less jobs’ is good for the bottom rung fighters. If they cut those prelim fights, they’ll wind up cutting a bunch of guys they can’t use.

      Personally, I think you are right and that the UFC roster is bloated, but I doubt the low-level fighters would be enthusiastic about cutting their jobs entirely.

      • Jason Harris says:

        If I’m a guy on the 8/8 UFC contract I would not be thrilled to go back to making $2k fighting at an Indian casino.

      • 45 Huddle says:

        The UFC should not be housing 400 fighters. MMA should be like a pyramid broken into 3 sections.

        The Top Section is the UFC. It should have about 300 to 350 fighters maximum, and only the top level guys should be competing.

        The Middle Section should be a great feeder league. It should have about 500 to 600 fighters maximum, and have guys trying to work their way into the UFC.

        The bottom section should be all the smaller organizations out there.

        The problem is that every organization that should be the middle section gets stupid and tries to compete with the UFC. They increase their expenses and go out of business.

        Without the middle company to feed into the UFC, the UFC is constantly putting in fighters that don’t belong in the UFC…. But they are required to sign so the competition doesn’t get them first.

        It hurts the overall growth of the fighters. And it bloats the UFC.

  6. Chris says:

    UFC= U Fight Cheap.

    • Simon says:

      Very clever and original. You haven’t been hanging out with Rampage lately have you?

      As simple as it can be said, MLB, NFL, NBA, all have at least 60+ years under their wings. MLB and NFL have over 100 and close to 100 years, respectively, where they went from no one knowing what the sport was, to athletes becoming decent, to pay being so fucking terrible they had to hold two, sometimes 3 jobs, to finally being sustainable enough to support themselves AND pay commensurate pay to their top athletes.

      This happened at different intervals for all 3 of the top sports in America. It took DECADES for pay to get to a respectable number. MMA, and more specifically, UFC fighter pay WILL get to that point. And, it’ll get to that point sooner than MLB, NFL, or NBA ever did. Within 15-20 years, fighter pay will be leaps and bounds better than where it is now.

      What doesn’t need to happen is UFC bowing down to “media” pressure and paying exorbitant amounts to its fighters right away, as that will create an atmosphere not unlike boxing, where the top level, highest paid fighters have no incentive to go out and leave it all in the cage, to go out and either give an ass whooping or take one. You pay fighters how some of these top ranked boxers are getting paid, you have a terrible situation on your hands.

  7. Jason Harris says:

    “Until a new organization arrives on the scene to create competition on a significant level, there is no monetary incentive for the UFC to change their business practices.”

    There have been half a dozen orgs doing exactly this in the last 5 years and they all went broke pretty shortly. The few organizations that are remaining financially solvent (Bellator, WSOF but time will tell on those guys) are not paying more than the UFC.

    Jon Fitch made $66k in his last UFC appearance, and $30k in his last WSOF appearance. I know everyone likes to portray UFC as a bad guy and some evil empire, but why doesn’t that harsh light get cast on the other guys? They’re paying their fighters less and often times treating them worse (ie: all the Bellator lawsuits)

    • nottheface says:

      For fighters this is exactly the problem, not only is there no competition but there doesn’t seem to be any on the way. Is that the UFC’s fault? No. But it doesn’t change the fact that they are negotiating against a promotion that has, or very close to having, a monopsony over elite level mma talent.

  8. Just a Fan says:

    A well regarded source that pays close attention to the business side of combat sports? I’m sorry but whoever you got those figures from has no more clues(and even less apparently) then the average fan. How can you take anybody seriously when they claim “PPV revenue – average of 500,000 buys at $50 a pop over 12 events = $300 million”. Anybody that even puts in the an ounce of effort into the “business side of combat sports” knows that Zuffa has to split this revenue with the cable providers, a split from anywhere from 50% to 55% in the cable providers favor.

    Also 250 fighters?? The UFC has over 450 fighters currently under contract, to fill out the ton of shows they are planning. There is not enough UFC content and they only want to do more, so magically dropping this number to 250 is a ridiculous assumption. And trying to cover these yearly expenses with a TV contract structured over 7 years??

    So many assumptions and figures that are just plainly inaccurate. All in all an embarrassing breakout that reeks like a Rob Maysey hatchet job to further his agenda for a sports union.

    • Simon says:

      I was gonna suggest that it sounded like his “Well Regarded Source” is indeed Rob Maysey. Then I read the rest of your post and seen you had already come to that conclusion. The most messed up thing about all of this is there was a time when Rob first came into the MMA world, he actually had the right idea and I was fully behind him, with his “Fighters Association”, instead of the typical Fighters Union.

      I don’t remember all the details, but he had a decent idea. Too bad he never went anywhere with it. Then he had some other “bright idea”, can’t remember what this project was called, but it had a list of people and fighters who were in support of what I can only assume now to be a Fighter Union sign up list.

      The problem with it was, once you read the list of names, the good majority of them seemed made up, while the few (maybe 3 or 4) fighters he had somehow convinced to sign up were some of the lowest, least respected fighters you’d ever want associated with anything like that. It was pathetic as hell, and it showed how little influence Rob has AND it showed how little respect anyone of any significance within MMA had for Mr. Rob Maysey.

      • Rob Maysey says:

        It makes sense to you that I am the anonymous source when my name is public on the annual revenue for 2012, which differs substantially from the source?

        Might be some holes in your logic.

        As to MMAFA, hasn’t changed at all–since 2005.

        Yes, yes, so little respected–yet, so well informed. Weird!

      • Zach Arnold says:

        Rob’s a public figure who has been on ESPN and puts his name to plenty of statements. Hell, I embedded some of his comments in this very article. So, why would I attach a “source” comment to him when I’m embedding comments he’s made publicly?

    • MMAontheReg says:

      I have a backround in structured finance and couldn’t disagree with you more.

      1. The analysis had a $120,000,000 cushion which covers any complaints you have about PPV #’s. On top of that, an increasing # of PPV buys come from online sources that dont get nearly 50% and the UFC charges more than $50 an event in many areas.

      2. As far as the #’s of fighters are concerned, the analysis has 250 fighters budgeted at 100k each per year. Thats the exact same thing as 500 fighters at 50k per year. There are 450 fighters making on average less than 50k a year so these #’s are right online.

      3. As far as covering the expenses with a deal structured over 7 years, what do you expect when it says “The numbers below are not meant to be exact figures, but more of a generic guide to help the average fan understand the UFC from a financial standpoint”. Its clearly dumbed down so the average beer drinking fan can understand what the hell is going on.

      At the end of the day, an average fan can definately learn about basic UFC finances after reading through the breakdown so why not just take it for what it is.

  9. 45 Huddle says:

    1) Anybody who says that Zuffa gets $50 for each PPV AND/OR says that Chris Weidman is only getting $48,000 for his title win…. Automatically disqualifies themselves from any reasonable discussion on the topic. So that entire conversation in RED should be deleted as it is not only factually wrong… It is grasping at air.

    2) Elvis Sinosic… Former UFC Title Challenger…. Said on Th UG that if Tim Kennedy is only making $20,000 after everything is said and done (after taxes and fees), that it is a money management problem. Not to mention that the UFC is overpaying Kennedy right now based on what he would be worth to anybody else.

    3) The UFC constantly pays ABOVE market value for fighters. The MMA business is one big failure outside of the UFC. People like to blame the UFC for other companies going out of business, but they really all failed on their own. So Zuffa is the only company who can make serious money in MMA. And as we have seen with a guy like Jon Fitch, they were severely overpaying him. If the UFC went out of business tomorrow, most guys would have to get a new job or take a huge paycut. This is never talked about in the MMA Media.

    4) The UFC Pay minimum per performance is greater then MLS, MLB, & the NBA. The problem is for fighters is that they only compete a few times per year, while these other athletes compete 30, 82, to 162 times.

    5) It is well known the UFC pays out extra money on fighters on PPV Cards. Money that is not contractually obligated.

    Well, that money should be contractually obligated. I am sure somebody at Zuffa can come up with an actuarial formula to let fighters know in advance what their services will be worth based on the number of PPV Buys. The amount of money Zuffa would be paying out would not change. But the fighters wouldn’t be left in the dark as much.

    6) Every contract…. And any good manager should request this…. That is a fighter is fighting for a title, there is an increase in pay. If he is fighting in a TV main event… There is an increase in pay. I believe a lot of fighters have stipulations like this…. But it needs to be for all fighters….

    7) Chris Weidman is not a star. Make no mistakes about it. His next PPV…. even if it is without Silva…. Will do better business then Jones/Gustaffson….

    AT THE END OF THE DAY…. Fighter pay is STILL going up, despite no competition for the UFC. Anderson Silva just made more money on his last contract. As more revenue channels open up…. And each division has more legit challengers and is developed more…. The overall bucket of money going to fighters is going up.

    Do you see all those huge smiles on the champions faces like Weidman & Rousey? They wouldn’t be smiling like that if they were only getting what was reported.

    And on a side note… For people complaining about the UFC taking back half of the FOTN Bonus when Pay Healy pissed hot…. They just paid 5 instead of 4 bonuses out for bonuses.

    Fighters who are complaining should ask a PGA Tour member who doesn’t make the cut how much they are being paid…. The amount is $0….

    • Zach Arnold says:

      Adding to your comment, compare what golfers on the PGA Tour make versus the European tour where the Euro tour has more money paid to golfers just to appear and for sponsorships. Whereas with the PGA Tour, you have to win your cash. You don’t get appearance fees.

      It’s why Tiger Woods and others go to the Middle East and get paid that nice appearance fee.

  10. 45 Huddle says:

    It is obvious that whoever wrote this does not have a degree in economic, accounting, or finance. They probably don’t even have a business degree. Actually, they probably never even took 1 college level business class.

    It amazes me what passes for “journalism” sometimes.

    • RST says:

      bloodyelbow is not journalism.

      bloodyelbow barely passes for a bloody elbow.

      • Simon says:


        (I’ve said this for years, I’ve even been banned, twice, for saying BE is not a place full of thoughtful and unbiased journalism.

        I knew I wasn’t alone in thinking this, just glad I’ve seen others say it/realize it as well.

        LOL KID NATE? 40 something year old “Kid” Nate, huh?

        • RST says:

          I’ve seen great commentators get kicked off of there for disagreeing.

          Its ugly and embarrasing.

        • Light23 says:

          There was an article on there a while back: “Does a UFC contract constitute slavery?”

          I posted “No.” as the first comment.

          Got banned.

  11. Diaz's cashed bowl says:

    White is not just a crazy guy, you listen to the guy lately? He’s in the full throes of mental illness, talking like he was Silva or GSP etc…

    and all this bad mouthing the fighters who pay his rent? The fighters are what people pay to see, Dana and his mob bosses are not going to make a dime on PPV without those fighters are they?

    Now, Dana is talking as though he is a fighter! and while he pretends to be a marquee fighter with a big paycheck (which is the only thing he has in common with the fighter)fighter he decides “hey I want that belt back, or I want that big fight”

    Now why doesn’t he pretend that he is an undercard fighter?

    “I’m busting my ass and blowing all my cash on my 15 minutes of facebook fame, your damn F#@$^%%$g right I want my measly pay + a bonus for finishing a fight”
    “Look i’m an undercard fighter with a no better 1 in 5 chance to get that bonus money and thats if every fight is finished on one card.”
    “That f%$%$&*(g Dana white says don’t leave it to the judges, well who judges what finish deserves a reward?
    “Why should I risk brain damage for a subjective reward in a short term gig?”

    UFC makes millions on the gate alone, more of it needs to go to the fighters not for Danas fighter fantasy fulfillment.

    EVERY finish should merit a bonus, thats how they should treat all “independent contractors” not play favorites with them.

    • RST says:

      I think dana may have always been a bit crazy. Sometimes success needs a bit of that. But he’s getting older, and what where manageable quirks when you were younger often become flaws that you can no longer control as you age. Plus just the general curse of success. You see it all the time.

      I call it michael jackson syndrome, but look at Mike Tyson, George Lucas, pretty much any Hollywood celebrity and any number of other examples of success.

      I think Dana did a great job. But now he’s just hanging around and being a weirdo. Maybe he should spend more time with his other hobbies.

  12. RST says:

    Fire joe silva.

    It does seem like UFC could pay more if they wanted to.

    Just trimming the roster to more exclusive talent would not only clear up who’s who for the audience making it easier to focus on each fighter and build those next stars,
    but you could redistribute that money.

    But the cold blooded brass tacks is that UFC still pays the best and has the most to offer your career out of all the options available.

    Although UFC isn’t technically a monopoly,
    it really pretty much is.

    Until someone else can create a competing product thats just the way it is.

    (There is also the union option, but unions are often just as corrupt as monopoly’s)

    • Diaz's cashed bowl says:

      Silva needs to begone, his match making is pathetic.
      Also get rid of any judge with a fancy sounding name like Adalaide.
      And allow women referees to ref women fights, only.
      The judges are crazy! 30-26,30-27,29-28 on the Munoz fight shows how out of it they are.

  13. nottheface says:

    The back-of-the-envelope balance sheet used here seems way off. I gave all the S&P and Moody’s reports I could get my hands on to a friend of mine who is an an executive at TCF bank and asked him if he could make some rough estimates for me. And was actually quit a lot he could draw from those, the biggest being he could estimate the EBITDA for the last 3 years based on the debt-to-EBITDA ratio.
    – 2009 it was between $180-$205 million
    -2010 was between $140-$155 million
    – 2011 was between $100-$113 million

    Good thing about EBITDA is now we know the Earnings Before Interest, Taxes, Depreciation, and Amortization
    Based on the type of loans they got he could also estimated that their term loan interest payments were around $20 mil year, and the amortization of them was roughly $4.5 mil a year. Now their final profits depend a lot on asset depreciation, although it looks like they have almost no tangible assets for that, and amortization of all the brands they purchased (Strikeforce, Pride, WEC, WFA) I don’t know what that final amount is, I guess a lot depends on what these are valued at and how the revolver is used, but I sincerely doubt it’s enough that they wouldn’t generate a profit. A very healthy one in fact.

    A guess is they want to keep cash-flow high to keep the value of the company high, but who knows for sure.

    • 45 Huddle says:

      Are you telling me you just can’t take a companies revenues and determine how much they should pay their fighters based on that one number like BE does? lol. There are companies that make over $1 Billion a year in revenues and either have razor thin margins or lose money.

      What is obvious is that the UFC has a long term plan. It is a combination of PPV, FOX, Sponsors, and International. MMA hasn’t even matured fully yet. I’m not saying that “The UFC will be bigger then soccer or football” like White says. But there is growth in many markets available. There is no telling exactly where the sport will be in 5 to 10 years, and if the UFC gets ahead of themselves with fighter pay it could do bad things to the future of the sport.

      Does it stink for some of the current fighters? Sure it does! But every sport has seen this. Guys work hard for years, only to see athletes in the same position 30 years later reaping all of the rewards.

      Heck, the fighters want the best pay possible and yet we haven’t even seen the roster fully mature yet. Only this year are we finally seeing the Featherweight Division get to a good point. Bantamweight is probably 2 years off and Flyweight is probably closer to 4. Not to mention Strawweight (115) will probably come in the next few years along with maybe 1 or 2 more female divisions.

      Fans forget how young this sport really is. The UFC is only 20 years old in November. And really has been popular for less then a decade. The expansion we have seen has been awesome….

      • nottheface says:

        “Are you telling me you just can’t take a companies revenues and determine how much they should pay their fighters based on that one number like BE does?”

        No, not at all. But we can try and make an educated estimate if they are making money or not. And it sure seems like they are wouldn’t you agree?

        As for that idea that somehow there is a natural growth to sports. That somehow the earlier generations have to suffer while it goes through it’s growing phase, is false. A big reason why earlier athletes suffered wasn’t because the sport was young, it was because the owners made sure use things like the reserve clause to screw them out of money.

        • 45 Huddle says:

          The UFC Fighters are doing much better then what any other sports athletes were doing less then 20 years into the start of the league.

          Maximum fighter pay should be accomplished once full growth of the sport has been obtained. Doing it too early can actually hurt the growth of the sport.

        • nottheface says:

          That’s your measuring stick? Athletes that played before TV or ppv exploded the revenues of those sport? Even then, I would argue that the players of MLB in the 1920s were better off with regards to average pay and share of revenue.

        • 45 Huddle says:

          The measuring stick is the future.

          If you give the UFC Fighters what these established leagues are doing, it would cripple the growth of the sport.

          Where will the UFC be in 10 years? Will they still be just doing 30 shows a year in 9 divisions? If so, then absolutely, increase pay right this second.

          What if things change? What if in 10 years the UFC is doing a weekly Wednesday show on FOX Sports 1, along with 12 PPV’s and 6 FOX Cards? What if they have 9 male divisions and 3 female divisions?

          You put too much fixed costs with the fighters today, it makes everything inelastic, and it makes it harder to expand moving forward.

          At this stage in the UFC’s life cycle, we should be seeing an INCREASE in fighter pay. And we are seeing exactly that. Maximum pay should not be coming to the fighters until expansion is over.

        • edub says:

          The measuring stick is now. And the profits going to the UFC are not being spread enough to the fighters.

          50-60% wouldn’t cripple the growth of the sport one bit. It would however cut down on the ferraris that collect dust in Dana’s garage, the bank account of the Fertittas, and the bloated staff that works for Zuffa/The UFC at the moment.

          10 years does not matter for the fighters now. They will not be there, and will not be helped by it. The people who are trying to build their brand should be paying for it. If Zuffa wants to continue to build their brand then they need to start using some of their profits to do so, not the fighters.

          50-60%. 70% would be about right as maxed out for fighter pay.

    • nottheface says:

      I guess we could take the maximum estimated value for those brands, about $140 million at the extreme end, meaning with a 15 year amortization schedule they would deduct a little less than $10 mil year.

  14. Rob Maysey says:

    John Nash is correct

  15. RST says:

    In reference to superstar matchmaking: What they need to do right now is Nick Diaz/Anderson! Anderson CANNOT beat Weidman. Weidman is the real deal! Anderson knows that! Making him fight Weidman again would only soil his superstar status even worse. Anderson had a point after his loss, he’s got pop and exciting fights to still make.


  16. MMAontheReg says:

    I agree that this analysis is extremely basic, but what the fuck do you expect when it starts off by saying:

    “The numbers below are not meant to be exact figures, but more of a generic guide to help the average fan understand the UFC from a financial standpoint”.

    Only a fool would read that and then come up with a details related complaint.

    The bottomline is the UFC is still making good money despite a rough year. If anything, Zuffa ownership comes out looking like successful entrepreneurs. Last but not least, it is time for fighters to organize a union because most of them dont get paid fairly.

    Interesting stuff from as always.

    • edub says:

      “Last but not least, it is time for fighters to organize a union because most of them dont get paid fairly.”

      This. In the end it really is on them to get the Union (and in turn a better percentage) ball rolling.

  17. liger05 says:

    Is there much growth internationally?

    Here in the UK I dont think UFC will ever be a big thing.


To prove you're a person (not a spam script), type the security word shown in the picture.
Anti-spam image