Boxing was once the King of the fighting sports, but in the last decade (or more) MMA, or better to say UFC, is slowly, but surely, taking over. So who is the King now? UFC vs boxing money – which fighters earn more?
For now, at least, professional boxers make more money than UFC fighters. But, things could change rapidly.
In this article, we will explain the main differences between earnings in professional boxing, and earnings in MMA. You will see that sometimes even an average professional boxer can earn more money than most famous UFC fighters, but famous boxers are richer in general than MMA stars. Also, in the future, changes are inevitable.
How Much do Boxers Earn?
There is a huge difference between boxers who’re just starting to do boxing and those that already taken the world title.
Boxing professionals, in the beginning, are not someone’s employees and don’t have a regular salary but are paid per fight. The manager negotiates and arranges their rivals, the fights they perform at, the conditions…, and the earnings range from a few hundred dollars per fight to millions. Many professional boxers fight for only $200 per fight, so they have to have another job to have enough to live on, especially since some injury that throws them out of training and fighting greatly affects their earnings.
The classic minimum for the fights of professional boxers does not exist, earnings depend on the event, but most boxers earn less than the average salary of professional athletes, which according to a 2012 survey was $ 40,060 a year.
On the other hand, top boxers are among the highest-paid athletes in the world. So Floyd Mayweather got $150 million to fight Manny Pacquiao, and Pacquiao got $100 million for the same fight.  But there is only one Floyd Mayweather, his nickname is “Money” for a reason as he used to be the highest paid boxer at one point in his career! Only a few boxers earned such a huge amount of dollars!
Other fighters received at least $60,000 at this event in the bout. Of course, much of the money for top fights comes from the percentage of TV coverage and pay-per-view packages.
Boxers pay for themselves – insurance, travel, training, etc. – and they usually give the coach ten percent of the salary, and a certain percentage to the manager, in Nevada, for example, a third of the salary.
Basically, considering all the categories and federations, the average salary of world champions per fight is between two and five million dollars. Other professional boxers earn between $22,000 and $51,370 a year, so around 20-40k per year could be an average boxer salary.
Here are a few examples of how big fights change boxing earnings. Anthony Joshua made his first serious profit by defeating Vladimir Klitschko – $20 million. Then, $25 million for the victory over Povetkin, $25 was waiting for him if Jarrell Miller did not fail the doping test…, but before Klitschko, in the first 18 fights of his career, although he also defeated Dillian Whyte, Dominic Breazeale, and just the fight before Klitschko, Eric Molina, Joshua was far from such, serious earnings, compared to other pro boxers.
Or take the example of Andy Ruiz: The man earned $7 million to win against Joshua in New York, then he got ten million dollars for a rematch. And the fight before the demolition of Joshua was done for – $200,000! Although at the time he had a professional performance of 32-1, he was earning like an average pro boxer!
How much do main card boxers make?
Main card boxers are more famous, and the two that square off in the main event also get the PPV percentage. The others on the main card have special contracts with promotions that determine how much money they will get.
Yes, it depends on the event, but the main card pro boxers could earn from 30k to 10+ million, which heavily depends on their popularity, sponsorships, and contracts. The median salary is around 50k to 100k dollars.
How much does a prelim boxer make?
The undercard professional boxers usually get somewhere between 10k and 100k dollars for the combat in some big event. Yet, when somebody fights for the first time, the purses can even go under 1000 dollars per bout. But remember, there is no limit for minimum wage.
The prelim boxers make different amounts of money, but many boxers that don’t get the chance to showcase their skills in the main card don’t leave the ring with more than 50k in their pockets.
How much does a boxer make per fight?
Boxers make very much different amounts of money. Most boxers fight in the early stages of their careers for less than 1000 bucks, while most boxers are in the 10k-100k range limit. Boxing champions and only a handful of famous names could earn millions.
Yes, boxers get paid per fight, but the richest boxers get tons of money from commercials, social media, and sponsorships. Boxers get paid for the fight, but also have the ability to earn money via side activities.
How much does the average boxer make per fight?
Average boxers usually get paid between 1,000 and 100,000 dollars per combat, which depends on the contract and their boxing promoters. An amateur boxer makes no money at all, that is the difference between a pro boxer and an amateur guy. Some amateurs can beat a professional boxer, but they don’t get money for their performance.
Top 10 Highest Paid Boxers in History
- Marvin Hagler – $45 million
- Muhammad Ali – $50 million
- Anthony Joshua: $60 Million
- Vitali Klitschko – $65 million
- Ray Charles Leonard – $120 million
- Lennox Lewis – $135 million
- Manny Pacquiao – $200 million
- Oscar De La Hoya – $200 million
- George Foreman – $300 million
- Floyd Mayweather Jr. – $1.1 billion
Floyd Mayweather Salary
Super-athlete Floyd Mayweather banked around 1.1 billion dollars, and he’s the richest name on the list of professional boxers. Mayweather made around 45 million by fighting Miguel Cotto in 2012, then earned 100+ million dollars in the fight against the UFC star Conor McGregor, and also banked around $9 million in the match against Tenshin Nasukawa in his return bout.
Mayweather vs de la Hoya is the match that broke many records in 2007. The record for the greatest number of PPV buys was broken (2.4 million), and the fight generated around 120 million in the PPV bonus. Floyd Mayweather banked an extra 25k for this combat from PPVs, while his opponent Oscar de la Hoya cashed amazing 35 million dollars! This broke the previous record in the world of professional boxers, 1.95 million for Evander Holyfield-Mike Tyson II combat.
How Much do MMA/UFC Fighters earn?
MMA is the fastest-growing sport in the world today, and the popularity of the UFC and its fighters has skyrocketed over the years in the world of martial arts. So, even though their main fighters are not as paid as the biggest names in boxing, their payments are rising, but also, lesser-known professional fighters earn more in the UFC than small independent boxers in boxing matches.
The average amount of money an MMA fighter in the UFC makes is $146,673. Some fighters who take part in a title fight, like Conor McGregor and Khabib Nurmagomedov, earn much more with payouts going to tens of millions of dollars. Fight purse is different, and it depends on many factors.
The main source of income for UFC wasters in the past were earnings from the fighting. But, in recent years, there were some changes in money sources for the fighters in the fastest-growing sport in the world, and the global popularity of UFC fighters has skyrocketed.
Today, the most popular UFC fighters have a huge amount of followers on social networks worldwide, and you can see how many followers the biggest UFC fighters on Instagram have. That makes them a perfect target for sponsors and advertising products.
As time goes by, more and more UFC fighters are making a lot of money from those sources (for example, merchandise sales and prize money) or of income as well as regular paychecks when they are fighting. We will show you some of the ways, an MMA fighter in UFC can earn money.
- The primary way UFC fighters are making money are paychecks they get from UFC when they fight. Each fighter signs a contract for x amounts of fights and they are paid a fixed amount of money each time they step inside the Octagon. Payouts from fighting ranges a lot. It can go from a starting $10,000 to as much as $3,000,000.
- Win bonuses – On top of guaranteed payouts for fights, if a fighter wins a bout, they will receive a win bonus that equals the guaranteed amount they got (doubling the amount of money they get, unless you have a different contract with the promotion).
- Bonus awards: Fight of the Night and Performance of the Night. UFC also ensures that two fighters who participate in the best and most interesting fight of the night receive a $50,000 bonus. Two fighters who put the best performance on the event also receive a $50,000 bonus. So a tough, aggressive Octagon warrior, ready to fight toe-to-toe, gets a greater amount of prize money.
- Bonuses (PPV) – Being a UFC Champion or main eventing the UFC PPV event means that there is a chance that a fighter can have a special item in their contract on which they will receive a percentage of all the sold PPVs. This refers to star fighters, of course.
- Sponsorships – In 2015, UFC signed a deal with Reebok. The deal obligated all of the UFC fighters to wear exclusively Reebok equipment during the fights. For that, all UFC fighters are getting payouts from Reebok sponsorship every time they fight.
- Endorsements – There are a ton of different companies that have deals with the UFC fighters. A fighter has to promote a company’s product on social networks, and for that they receive paychecks.
- Training fees – professional fighters sometimes lose a lot of money on training camps and coaching, as most fighters in the UFC have to pay a lot for their training cycles. Yes, it is a sad truth, it costs. Sponsors rarely accept to pay for training fees.
There are also other sources of income for UFC/MMA fighters. For example, Conor McGregor, despite earning millions from fighting, he also launched two separate businesses. He launched a luxury clothing line for men called August McGregor. And his own whiskey, called Proper Twelve. The sales of whiskey have skyrocketed all over the world, thus reportedly generating past the $1 billion mark in the United States. It seems he earned more money from his side jobs than his entire career in the MMA world!
But there is one rule – Muay Thai fighters and kickboxers are more entertaining to watch compared to wrestlers and ground game specialists. Finishers and fighters with huge hearts mostly don’t have to do other jobs, as the fans are willing to pay more money for their pay-per-view buys.
You can find out here more about how much money MMA fighters in the UFC make.
Top 10 Highest Paid UFC Fighters in History
- Junior dos Santos – $5,970,000
- Donald Cerrrone – $6,155,000
- Mark Hunt – $6,304,000
- Jon Jones – $7,025,000
- Georges St-Pierre – $7,037,000
- Michael Bisping – $7,135,000
- Anderson Silva – $8,112,000
- Khabib Nurmagomedov – $8,680,200
- Alistair Overeem – $9,569,500
- Conor McGregor – $15,082,000
UFC vs Boxing Money: Who Earns More?
As we can see, the biggest boxing fighters still earn more than UFC fighters (at least from theirs fighting sport), but on average UFC fighters probably earn more, because small professional and amateur boxers earn very little and usually have to pay everything for themselves. Boxers make more money, but it might change.
UFC and the MMA overall are rising in popularity, and soon even the best of their fighters will earn more money than the best-paid fighters in boxing.