What is UFC Fighter Salary? 【Fighters & Referee】 | CareerExplorer

Average Salary for UFC Fighter is $138,250 USD

UFC Salary

The two disclosed bonuses of a match are ‘Fight of the Night’ and ‘Performance of the Night.’ While the range of these bonuses varies and is not officially reported, it is an average of $50,000, sometimes, climbing as high as $80,000.

UFC Salary 2021:

JobSALARY
UFC Referee$500-$2,000 per match
UFC Fighter$138,250 per year

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The Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) is an American-based company that has now grown to become the world’s biggest promoter of Mixed Martial Arts (MMA). It was founded 28 years ago in 1993 and has since held over 500 events promoting MMA fights. Initially, UFC fights did not command the mainstream media coverage they do now. The credit for UFC’s rise in popularity globally and its status as a multibillion-dollar enterprise goes to its long-serving president since 2001, Dana White. 

The UFC boasts of twelve weight divisions. There are eight weight divisions for men and four for women. UFC events are broadcast within the United States on pay-per-view (PPV) channels and through various other modes of media around the world. They have gained so much notoriety amongst their younger audience that UFC now has an exclusive contract with THQ who has developed UFC video games for Playstation, Xbox as well as Wii. 

For an enterprise this massive with an equally vast fan following, it is no wonder that UFC fighter salary and UFC referee salary can reach incredible numbers for highly-anticipated matches. Let’s break them down to see what getting punched in the face in front of millions of viewers truly costs. 

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UFC Fighter Salary:

Those MMA fighters with a contract with UFC are required to be offered a minimum of three fights per calendar year. If sufficient fights are not offered, they are still compensated by the UFC for the fights not offered. There is a basic UFC salary per fight.

The basic salary is not fixed, and it ultimately depends on the popularity of the player, the sponsorship of that player plus how anticipated and revenue-generating that particular fight is. All these factors dictate what a UFC fighter’s salary can come out to be. In addition to this basic UFC salary, there is an opportunity for fighters to grab bonuses. 

While these bonuses and the basic UFC fighter salary have to be disclosed to the state athletic commission, other earnings are largely kept under wraps and are rarely leaked to the public.

Top UFC Fighters Salaries 2021:

Name Salary
Khabib Nurmagomedov  $6,090,000
Conor McGregor  $3,060,000
Junior dos Santos  $1,560,000
Israel Adesanya  $1,230,000
Justin Gaethje  $   920,000
Jose Aldo  $   900,000
Deiveson Figueiredo  $   875,000
Anthony Pettis  $   855,000
Alistair Overeem  $   830,000
Stipe Miocic  $   790,000
Dominick Reyes  $   760,000
Robert Whittaker  $   745,000
Marcin Tybura  $   701,000
Andrei Arlovski  $   695,000
Tony Ferguson  $   695,000
Donald Cerrone  $   660,000
Kamaru Usman  $   640,000
Anderson Silva  $   620,000
Derrick Lewis  $   620,000
Anthony Smith  $   615,000
Jan Blachowicz  $   590,000
Jim Miller  $   583,000
Charles Oliveira  $   557,200
Kevin Holland  $   553,000
Glover Teixeira  $   550,000
Valentina Shevchenko  $   550,000
Jon Jones  $   540,000
Neil Magny  $   534,000
Daniel Cormier  $   530,000
Jorge Masvidal  $   530,000
Maurico ‘Shogun’ Rua  $   515,000
Amanda Nunes  $   490,000
Greg Hardy  $   485,000
Aleksei Oleinik  $   475,000
Ovince Saint Preux  $   475,000
Katlyn Chookagian  $   470,000
Tyron Woodley  $   445,000
Holly Holm  $   435,000
Rafael dos Anjos  $   435,000
Ben Rothwell  $   415,000
Vicente Luque  $   406,000
Dan Hooker  $   400,000
Alexander Volkanovski  $   390,000
Henry Cejudo  $   390,000
Joseph Benavidez  $   390,000
Gilbert Burns  $   388,000
Bobby Green  $   380,000
Fabricio Werdum  $   380,000
Paulo Costa  $   380,000
Yoel Romero  $   380,000
Alex Oliveira  $   377,400
Brian Kelleher  $   375,000
Angela Hill  $   371,000
Alex Perez  $   370,000
Curtis Blaydes  $   370,000
Dustin Poirier  $   370,000
Beneil Dariush  $   365,000
Kelvin Gastelum  $   365,000
Diego Sanchez  $   353,000
Marlon Vera  $   350,000
Tim Means  $   342,000
Chris Weidman  $   340,000
Mackenzie Dern  $   335,000
Dominick Cruz  $   330,000
Brandon Moreno  $   326,000
Francis Ngannou  $   320,000
Frankie Edgar  $   320,000
Marvin Vettori  $   320,000
Stephen Thompson  $   320,000
Cody Garbrandt  $   315,000
Colby Covington  $   310,000
Jessica Andrade  $   310,000
Sean O’Malley  $   306,500
Cory Sandhagen  $   300,000
Khamzat Chimaev  $   294,500
Zhang Weili  $   290,000
Drew Dober  $   286,000
Jack Hermansson  $   285,000
Paul Felder  $   284,000
Max Holloway  $   280,000
Alex Caceres  $   278,000
Edson Barboza  $   277,000
Sijara Eubanks  $   275,000
Mike Perry  $   263,000
Casey Kenney  $   260,500
Andre Fili  $   260,000
Dan Ige  $   260,000
Devin Clark  $   256,000
Alexander Volkov  $   250,000
Carlos Condit  $   250,000
Marlon Moraes  $   250,000
Jairzinho Rozenstruik  $   249,000
Paul Craig  $   249,000
Michelle Waterson  $   240,000
Sean Strickland  $   240,000
Calvin Kattar  $   236,100
Claudia Gadelha  $   233,000
Petr Yan  $   230,000
Roxanne Modafferi  $   227,000
Darren Elkins  $   226,000
Brian Ortega  $   225,000
Ronaldo ‘Jacare’ Souza  $   225,000
Jennifer Maia  $   224,000
Cortney Casey  $   223,000
Carla Esparza  $   220,000
Robbie Lawler  $   220,000
Tecia Torres  $   216,000
Derek Brunson  $   215,000
Aljamain Sterling  $   212,000
Magomed Ankalaev  $   211,000
Cub Swanson  $   210,000
Josh Emmett  $   207,000
Francisco Trinaldo  $   206,200
Raquel Pennington  $   204,000
Giga Chikadze  $   201,000
Gabriel Benitez  $   200,000
Tim Elliott  $   199,350
Lauren Murphy  $   199,000
Cynthia Calvillo  $   192,750
Felicia Spencer  $   192,500
Jimmy Crute  $   192,000
Darren Stewart  $   190,000
Joanna Jedrzejczyk  $   186,000
Scott Holtzman  $   186,000
Gian Villante  $   185,000
Jake Matthews  $   184,000
Brandon Royval  $   182,500
Nikita Krylov  $   180,000
Ricardo Lamas  $   180,000
Khaos Williams  $   179,300
Miguel Baeza  $   171,000
Walt Harris  $   170,000
Louis Smolka  $   168,000
Philipe Lins  $   167,000
James Krause  $   166,000
Alexander Hernandez  $   165,500
Joaquin Buckley  $   164,500
John Dodson  $   164,000
Antonina Shevchenko  $   163,000
Augusto Sakai  $   163,000
Germaine de Randamie  $   160,000
Rob Font  $   160,000
Rose Namajunas  $   160,000
Sam Alvey  $   160,000
Gerald Meerschaert  $   158,000
Daniel Rodriguez  $   156,500
Carlos Diego Ferreira  $   155,000
Michael Chiesa  $   154,000
Brett Johns  $   152,000
Song Yadong  $   151,000
Johnny Walker  $   150,000
Merab Dvalishvili  $   150,000
Gillian Robertson  $   148,000
Tanner Boser  $   147,500
Kyler Phillips  $   147,000
Nathaniel Wood  $   145,000
Uriah Hall  $   145,000
Trevin Giles  $   143,000
Gavin Tucker  $   142,000
Jimmie Rivera  $   141,000
Ed Herman  $   140,000
Ray Borg  $   139,100
Alex Morono  $   139,000
Antonio Rogerio Nogueira  $   138,000
Michel Pereira  $   137,500
Lando Vannata  $   137,000
Kai Kara-France  $   136,000
Maurice Greene  $   136,000
Alexander Gustafsson  $   135,000
Darren Till  $   135,000
Tyson Nam  $   135,000
Megan Anderson  $   134,000
Hannah Cifers  $   131,000
Randa Markos  $   131,000
Shane Burgos  $   130,000
Daniel Pineda  $   124,800
Jussier Formiga  $   123,000
Bryce Mitchell  $   122,000
Makwan Amirkhani  $   122,000
Rafael Fiziev  $   121,500
Cody Stamman  $   121,000
Niko Price  $   120,500
Ariane Lipski  $   120,000
Stefan Struve  $   120,000
Andrew Sanchez  $   119,000
Krzysztof Jotko  $   118,000
Justin Jaynes  $   117,500
Herbert Burns  $   115,700
Max Griffin  $   115,000
Jamahal Hill  $   112,700
Demian Maia  $   112,000
Pedro Munhoz  $   111,000
Tom Aspinall  $   111,000
Roosevelt Roberts  $   110,400
Alan Jouban  $   110,000
Belal Muhammad  $   110,000
Mike Rodriguez  $   109,000
Sean Brady  $   109,000
Youseff Zalal  $   107,500
Jonathan Martinez  $   107,000
Renato Moicano  $   106,000
Virna Jandiroba  $   105,500
Aleksandar Rakic  $   105,000
Arnold Allen  $   105,000
Maryna Moroz  $   105,000
Matt Brown  $   105,000
Jiri Prochazka  $   103,500
Marc Diakiese  $   103,000
Michael Johnson  $   103,000
Charles Rosa  $   102,000
Ryan Spann  $   102,000
Alexandr Romanov  $   101,000
Chris Daukaus  $   101,000
Kay Hansen  $   101,000
Nathan Maness  $   101,000
Austin Hubbard  $   100,500
Ashley Yoder  $   100,000
Ilir Latifi  $   100,000
Volkan Oezdemir  $   100,000
Raphael Assuncao  $     99,000
Raoni Barcelos  $     98,000
Jordan Griffin  $     97,500
Christian Aguilera  $     95,000
Elizeu Zaleski dos Santos  $     95,000
Irene Aldana  $     95,000
Thiago Santos  $     95,000
Shana Dobson  $     94,000
Viviane Araujo  $     94,000
Yan Xiaonan  $     94,000
Clay Guida  $     93,000
Hunter Azure  $     93,000
Mayra Bueno Silva  $     93,000
Miles Johns  $     93,000
Sara McMann  $     92,000
Chan Sung Jung  $     90,000
Damon Jackson  $     90,000
Jake Collier  $     90,000
Kai Kamaka III  $     89,000
Mariya Agapova  $     89,000
Modestas Bukauskas  $     89,000
Tom Breese  $     88,500
Chase Hooper  $     88,000
Bill Algeo  $     87,000
Nik Lentz  $     87,000
Tony Gravely  $     87,000
Tony Kelley  $     87,000
Justine Kish  $     86,000
Mirsad Bektic  $     86,000
Bryan Barberena  $     85,000
Corey Anderson  $     85,000
Billy Quarantillo  $     84,500
Ciryl Gane  $     84,000
Nasrat Haqparast  $     84,000
Kevin Lee  $     83,800
Dusko Todorovic  $     83,500
Lerone Murphy  $     83,500
Davey Grant  $     83,000
Julian Erosa  $     83,000
Marcos Rogerio de Lima  $     83,000
Randy Costa  $     81,500
Luis Pena  $     80,950
Mallory Martin  $     80,500
Evan Dunham  $     80,000
Jared Cannonier  $     80,000
Brendan Allen  $     79,000
Montel Jackson  $     79,000
Mounir Lazeez  $     78,300
Andre Muniz  $     77,500
Mario Bautista  $     77,500
Ottman Azatair  $     77,500
Su Mudaerji  $     77,500
Ion Cutelaba  $     76,000
Jose Alberto Quinonez  $     76,000
Zak Cummings  $     76,000
Pannie Kianzad  $     75,000
Jesse Ronson  $     74,000
Khalid Taha  $     74,000
Li Jingliang  $     74,000
Priscila Cachoeira  $     74,000
Yana Kunitskaya  $     74,000
Adrian Yanez  $     73,500
Guram Kutateladze  $     73,500
Jimmy Flick  $     73,500
Jordan Leavitt  $     73,500
Luigi Vendramini  $     73,500
Mateusz Gamrot  $     73,500
Sasha Palatnikov  $     73,500
Trevin Jones  $     73,500
Thiago Moises  $     73,000
Jalin Turner  $     72,000
Kevin Croom  $     71,700
Grant Dawson  $     71,300
Ketlen Vieira  $     71,000
Chris Gutierrez  $     70,000
Ian Heinisch  $     70,000
Mara Romero Borella  $     70,000
Montana De La Rosa  $     70,000
Omari Akhmedov  $     70,000
Rani Yahya  $     70,000
Mark Madsen  $     69,500
Maki Pitolo  $     69,000
Amanda Ribas  $     67,500
Jordan Espinosa  $     67,500
Andre Ewell  $     67,000
Jeremy Stephens  $     66,900
Eryk Anders  $     66,000
Joel Alvarez  $     65,500
Ricky Simon  $     65,000
Tai Tuivasa  $     65,000
Vinc Pichel  $     65,000
Blagoy Ivanov  $     64,000
Gabriel Silva  $     63,500
Louis Cosce  $     63,500
Court McGee  $     63,000
Macy Chiasson  $     62,000
Christos Giagos  $     61,000
Eddie Wineland  $     61,000
John Makdessi  $     61,000
Sabina Mazo  $     59,500
Brad Riddell  $     59,000
Sodiq Yusuff  $     59,000
Anthony Rocco Martin  $     58,000
Bartosz Fabinksi  $     58,000
Kevin Aguilar  $     58,000
Nicolas Dalby  $     58,000
Gina Mazany  $     57,000
Leonardo Santos  $     57,000
Ashlee Evans-Smith  $     56,500
Hakeem Dawodu  $     55,600
Takashi Sato  $     55,500
Mickey Gall  $     55,000
Spike Carlyle  $     54,500
Zubaira Tukhugov  $     53,400
Frankie Saenz  $     53,000
Brok Weaver  $     52,100
Mark De La Rosa  $     52,000
Askar Askarov  $     51,000
David Dvorak  $     51,000
Ilia Topuria  $     51,000
Khama Worthy  $     51,000
Paige VanZant  $     51,000
Roman Dolidze  $     51,000
Taila Santos  $     51,000
Joanne Calderwood  $     50,000
Julianna Pena  $     50,000
Justin Ledet  $     50,000
Lina Lansberg  $     50,000
Sergey Spivak  $     49,500
Shavkat Rakhmonov  $     49,100
Alexa Grasso  $     49,000
Andrea Lee  $     49,000
Gadzhimurad Antigulov  $     49,000
Jack Marshman  $     49,000
Raulian Paiva  $     48,600
Abdul Razak Alhassan  $     48,400
Jessica Eye  $     48,250
Marion Reneau  $     48,000
Dequan Townsend  $     47,000
Jason Witt  $     47,000
Irwin Rivera  $     46,500
Molly McCann  $     46,000
Nate Landwehr  $     46,000
Bevon Lewis  $     45,500
Drakkar Klose  $     45,000
Felice Herrig  $     45,000
John Phillips  $     45,000
Julia Avila  $     45,000
Omar Morales  $     45,000
Polyana Viana  $     45,000
Randy Brown  $     45,000
Jessica-Rose Clark  $     44,000
Ramazen Emeev  $     44,000
Said Nurmagomedov  $     44,000
Jared Gordon  $     43,400
Gustavo Lopez  $     43,000
Kyle Daukaus  $     43,000
Loma Lookboonme  $     43,000
Yancy Medeiros  $     43,000
Alonzo Menifield  $     41,500
Darrick Minner  $     41,200
Deron Winn  $     41,200
Thomas Almeida  $     41,000
Aleksa Camur  $     40,500
Charles Jourdain  $     39,500
Jack Shore  $     39,500
Geoff Neal  $     39,000
Impa Kasanganay  $     39,000
Jordan Wright  $     39,000
Journey Newson  $     39,000
Liana Jojua  $     39,000
Rodrigo Nascimento  $     39,000
Juan Espino  $     37,500
Jai Herbert  $     37,300
Carlos Felipe  $     37,000
Don’Tale Mayes  $     37,000
Jamall Emmers  $     37,000
Maxim Grishin  $     37,000
Parker Porter  $     37,000
Edmen Shahbazyan  $     36,000
Norma Dumont  $     36,000
Song Kenan  $     36,000
Alan Patrick  $     35,000
Claudio Silva  $     35,000
Jinh Yu Frey  $     35,000
JJ Aldrich  $     35,000
Karolina Kowalkiewicz  $     35,000
Matt Wiman  $     35,000
Bethe Correia  $     34,000
Alexander Yakovlev  $     33,000
Chase Sherman  $     33,000
Karl Roberson  $     33,000
Lyman Good  $     33,000
Maycee Barber  $     33,000
Enrique Barzola  $     32,000
Muslim Salikhov  $     32,000
Movsar Evloev  $     31,500
Rodolfo Vieira  $     31,500
Anthony Ivy  $     31,000
Ike Villanueva  $     31,000
Poliana Botelho  $     31,000
Yorgan De Castro  $     31,000
Karol Rosa  $     30,500
Rogerio Bontorin  $     30,400
Marc-Andre Barriault  $     29,900
Joseph Duffy  $     29,000
Peter Sobotta  $     29,000
Livia Renata Souza  $     28,000
Matt Frevola  $     28,000
Sarah Moras  $     28,000
Amanda Lemos  $     27,500
Arman Tsarukyan  $     27,500
Bea Malecki  $     27,500
Geraldo de Freitas  $     27,500
Joe Solecki  $     27,500
Jun Yung Park  $     27,500
Khadis Ibragimov  $     27,500
Mike Grundy  $     27,500
Tracy Cortez  $     27,500
Alexandre Pantoja  $     27,000
Ali AlQaisi  $     27,000
Bruno Silva  $     27,000
Carlton Minus  $     27,000
Cody Durden  $     27,000
Malcolm Gordon  $     27,000
Martin Day  $     27,000
Peter Barrett  $     27,000
Rhys McKee  $     27,000
Roque Martinez  $     27,000
Shane Young  $     27,000
Luke Sanders  $     26,000
Saparbek Safarov  $     26,000
Daniel Chavez  $     25,500
Alessio Di Chirico  $     25,000
Da Un Jung  $     25,000
Frank Camacho  $     25,000
Ji Yeon Kim  $     25,000
Lucie Pudilova  $     25,000
Markus Perez  $     25,000
Oskar Piechota  $     25,000
Ricardo Ramos  $     25,000
T.J. Brown  $     25,000
Chris Gruetzemacher  $     24,000
Dwight Grant  $     24,000
Emily Whitmire  $     24,000
Marina Rodriguez  $     24,000
Vince Morales  $     24,000
Amir Albazi  $     23,500
Anderson dos Santos  $     23,500
Cory McKenna  $     23,500
Danaa Batgerel  $     23,500
Danilo Marques  $     23,500
Dricus Du Plessis  $     23,500
Dustin Jacoby  $     23,500
Fares Ziam  $     23,500
Jonathan Pearce  $     23,500
Justin Tafa  $     23,500
Kanako Murata  $     23,500
Matthew Semeslberger  $     23,500
Miranda Maverick  $     23,500
Nassourdine Imavov  $     23,500
Phil Hawes  $     23,500
Tafon Nchuwki  $     23,500
Tagir Ulanbekov  $     23,500
William Knight  $     23,500
Klibson Abreu  $     22,000
Ryan Benoit  $     22,000
Damir Hadzovic  $     21,000
Davi Ramos  $     21,000
Ludovit Klein  $     20,500
Danny Roberts  $     20,000
Ismail Naurdiev  $     20,000
Laureano Staropoli  $     20,000
Leon Edwards  $     20,000
Magomed Mustafaev  $     20,000
Guido Cannetti  $     19,000
Alexey Kunchenko  $     18,000
Anthony Birchak  $     18,000
Michal Oleksiejczuk  $     18,000
Nad Narimani  $     18,000
Brianna Van Buren  $     17,500
Danny Henry  $     17,500

 

Dana White Salary:

Dana white

Dana White once revealed that he hands out what are called undisclosed ‘Locker-room bonuses’ depending on how he perceived a fight. If he deduced that a deserving fighter was unable to win neither the ‘Fight of the Night’, nor the ‘Performance of the Night’ bonus, then he rewarded that fighter with the bonus. This bonus could range anywhere from $4,000 to $25,000.

Those UFC fighters who are headlining an event are able to ink more lucrative deals since they are not only paid more for the fight but also are in a position to negotiate a cut from the pay-per-view earnings of the company. The record for the most money won in a UFC fight is held by Conor McGregor and Nate Diaz at UFC 202 where they won a combined whopping total of $5 million. Since Conor was victorious, he won $3 million and Nate was close behind, earning $2 million. 

The average UFC fighter salary in 2020 was $147,965. This was only a slight increase from the 2019 average UFC salary of $146,673. However, the range of UFC salary is so wide, since UFC fighter income is largely dependent on the individual fighter’s public sway and their sponsorship contracts. This discrepancy is glaringly obvious when you realize that the average US household income is $45,000 per year, and roughly 210 fighters (one-third of all UFC fighters) have an average UFC salary below that mark. Contrast that with the other end of the spectrum, where heavy-weight names in this industry such as Conor McGregor were able to rake in over $3 million dollars as the basic UFC salary of the fight. The sponsorship deals combined with his cut of the pay-per-view revenue are rumored to be upwards of $50 million for that single fight in 2018. 

The reason the UFC starting salary for entry-level fighters is so low is that these fighters do not have the high-level agency representation that rookies in other sports, such as the NBA have. There is also a lack of union representation for fighters in the UFC. Therefore, these fighters are unable to negotiate better deals for themselves. Their chance to earn significant paychecks largely depends on how swiftly they rise amongst player rankings and the public image that can help them get sponsorship deals from multimillion-dollar companies. 

The UFC salary per fight for entry-level fighters is $10,000. Should they win, they stand to get a bonus of up to $50,000. This may seem like an enticing sum of money, but what is pertinent to remember, is that these fights are few and hard to come by, and the preparation for these fights requires months of grueling training, dieting, and commitment that makes every earned penny very well deserved. 

Another category of fighters in the UFC earning less is the women fighters. The average UFC salary for female fighters is claimed to be 61% of their male peers if the most notable and successful female UFC champion Ronda Rousey is kept in the analysis. If she is removed from the earnings average, then the women are expected to earn only 41% of their male counterparts. Critics of this analysis, however, remind you that women almost always play fewer rounds than their male counterparts. And it is also important to note, that the large portion of earnings in the UFC are not from the basic UFC fighter salary but from sponsorships and the fighter’s public fame and social media presence. Regardless, it does not reflect well on the company’s image when you realize that in the UFC 241 event in 2019, the highest-earning male fighter bagged $700,000 while the female UFC champion salary was just shy of $30,000.

UFC Referee Salary:

UFC referee salary

Although the fighters are integral to the name, fame, and legacy behind the UFC, the matches would not be possible without the contribution and keen eye of skilled referees. Like any competitive sport, a referee is required to officiate the game and ensure fair play. While the fighters play an exceptionally difficult role in a fight, the referee’s job is no less challenging.

The referees are equally subjected to a crowd’s loud opinion much like the fighters. Despite that, they have to keep their presence of mind, drown out the noise and ensure that they do not miss a foul. UFC plays by the Unified Rules of Mixed Martial Arts and a referee has to be well-versed with those rules.

A referee’s decision can make or break a game for the crowd’s favorite and so, the referees try hard not to succumb to that pressure while ethically completing their duty. For this, is the UFC referee salary compensating them well? 

The UFC referee pay is usually fixed per match. It depends on the popularity of the match and the fighters participating. It is estimated that the UFC referee salary per match on average is $500. It is more common, however, for referees to earn $300 per fight. Their overall earnings for the night can be more though because UFC referees tend to officiate more fights per night. So, a referee presiding over 4 fights can earn over $1000 in one night. These are the earnings for the low-profile matches and for low-profile referees. On average, an MMA referee can officiate about 120 fights a year. If you multiply that with the lower end of the UFC salary of $400, that is earnings of $48,000 a year. 

The bigger revenue a match or event is expected to generate, the bigger a referee’s paycheck can be. This basic salary does not include airfare and hotel accommodations provided to UFC referees by the commission. Since the UFC headquarters are based in Nevada, according to reputable sources, the Nevada state commission has the highest UFC referee salary in the United States. 

Looking at some high-profile fights, we can see what a notable referee can pocket should he get a chance to officiate those fights. Big John McCarthy, a well-known name in the UFC referee community was able to mediate the infamous match-up of Conor McGregor and Jose Aldo in 2017. From that fight alone, he made $1900. When you combine that with 89 UFC and Bellator fights he refereed, he managed to earn a sum, just shy of $50,000. 

When discussing UFC referees, it is hard to miss UFC referee Herb Dean salary. Herb Dean is one of the most respectable and revered referees in the UFC with a net worth of $3 million. Being a former MMA fighter, he is especially skilled for the role he plays so well. While his exact earnings are widely reported to fall anywhere in between $150,000 – $500,000 annually, the real question is why? Due to his reputation, he is in a position to negotiate hefty contracts which allow him a cut of the pay-per-view earnings from the fights he oversees. It is estimated he can earn up to $25,000 from PPV earnings per match. He also referees high-profile matches which raises his basic UFC salary further.

When comparing UFC to similar sports such as boxing, it is obvious that both, the UFC fighters and referees earn significantly less. The wage gap is further increased in comparison to sports such as basketball and football. This is because MMA fighting is a relatively new sport and is still establishing itself. Each year, it continues to draw in more viewers. It is expanding into various multimedia platforms such as video games and action figure collections. More MMA fighting gyms are propping up around the country and this will surely help discover more talent. UFC viewership and popularity are on a steady climb and is sure to see a spike in the UFC salary of both fighters and referees in the near future.

Written by Jade Lewis

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