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There is no questioning that the Ultimate Fighting Championship (“UFC”) is the premier mixed martial arts (“MMA”) promotion in the world. The UFC does pay their fighters more than other MMA promotions, but there are still plenty of people rightfully claiming that the UFC substantially underpays their fighters. In 2019, the UFC made over $900,000,000 in revenue and paid their fighters less than $150,000,000. That is sixteen percent of their revenue, which is significantly lower than what the National Football League (“NFL”), National Basketball Association (“NBA”), and Major League Baseball (“MLB”) pay their players. Those aforementioned leagues pay their players between forty-eight and fifty percent of the revenue they make, considerably higher than what the UFC pays their fighters. Perhaps a better comparison might be to a similar sport, boxing. However, the problem is the same when comparing boxers to UFC fighters. The top UFC fighters are making nowhere near the amount the top boxers make. For example, a top UFC heavyweight fighter is being paid a base salary from of $600,000 as compared to a top heavyweight boxer who is making a base salary of $30,000,000. The problem is obvious. The questions then become why are UFC fighters making so little money, and how can this issue be solved?

This post was originally published on the Cardozo Arts & Entertainment Law Journal website on November 29, 2022. The original post can be accessed via the Archived Link button above.