You may think that participating in a combat sport for a living would pay well. Surely a profession that puts their performers in such danger would suitably compensate them for their dedication and their effort. To some degree this is true, Connor McGregor made $47 million in 2018 alone despite taking part in just one fight. The same can be said of Brock Lesnar or John Cena, who Forbes list as WWE’s richest superstars, that make millions every time they step into a WWE ring. The reality for many superstars and fighters is very different though.
Superstars and fighters at the beginning sign contracts for a decent base pay, for UFC fighters its $10,000 per fight and the same as a bonus for a win. The issue is when you take costs into account. UFC Fighters pay roughly $4,000 on their fight camps. WWE Superstars have to pay for their own transport from show to show, gym fees, and other assorted living costs.
Merchandising is an issue on both sides too. UFC’s Reebok deal hurt fighters’ ability to gain their own sponsors and make some extra money, WWE Superstars are not allowed to distribute their own merchandise, instead relying on WWEs store and getting just a slice of the revenue generated.
Even at the highest level research done by Betway compared the UFC’s top earner to the top earner in the world of soccer, basketball, boxing, among others. Safe to say the UFC’s highest earner trailed heavily behind these other sports. It becomes increasingly clear that fighters and superstars do what they do because they love it and that despite the fact they make huge revenues for their companies they aren’t getting a sizeable slice of the pie.
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