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Old 11-03-2011, 01:06 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Fighter financials

I work in corporate finance, and I'm curious to understand how and how much fighters earn.

I've seen the bonuses which frankly don't look too impressive. Nick Diaz earned 200k, which is of course a significant amount of money. But on the other end of the spectrum Matt Mitrione got a piddling 10k.

These fighters fight 1-3 times a year, and they have to pay for housing and living, but also for training which can't be cheap considering the top guys have a manager, 1-5 trainers/coaches, as many training partners, and it looks like many march around with an army of yes-men, and some even bring an entourage.

200k once or twice a year doesn't sound like it would make anyone wealthy in that environment, let alone for those who are not in the top 5 of their division.

I cringed when Jon Bones bought that fancy car of his; if he's earning this little, he's buying it on credit, and that'll go down south quickly if he gets beaten (discussion for another thread).

So who pays for their training camps and partners and how? Does the camp and/or training partners take a % of winnings, and how much, or do the fighters pay out of their pocket per hour or per camp?

What other sources of income do these guys have? I'm guessing sponsorship deals are getting more important, especially with Fox being on board offering much more attractive proposition for advertisers.
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Old 11-03-2011, 01:27 PM   #2 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Atras View Post
I work in corporate finance, and I'm curious to understand how and how much fighters earn.

I've seen the bonuses which frankly don't look too impressive. Nick Diaz earned 200k, which is of course a significant amount of money. But on the other end of the spectrum Matt Mitrione got a piddling 10k.

These fighters fight 1-3 times a year, and they have to pay for housing and living, but also for training which can't be cheap considering the top guys have a manager, 1-5 trainers/coaches, as many training partners, and it looks like many march around with an army of yes-men, and some even bring an entourage.

200k once or twice a year doesn't sound like it would make anyone wealthy in that environment, let alone for those who are not in the top 5 of their division.

I cringed when Jon Bones bought that fancy car of his; if he's earning this little, he's buying it on credit, and that'll go down south quickly if he gets beaten (discussion for another thread).

So who pays for their training camps and partners and how? Does the camp and/or training partners take a % of winnings, and how much, or do the fighters pay out of their pocket per hour or per camp?

What other sources of income do these guys have? I'm guessing sponsorship deals are getting more important, especially with Fox being on board offering much more attractive proposition for advertisers.
First off this probably belongs in the General MMA section.

Simply put most fighters can not make a living off this sport long term. Some still work 9-5 like Carwin or have side ventures opening their own gyms, acting in movies or have their own clothing lines (Tito, Hendo, Randy.) Sponsorship supplements their income. The more wins you have the higher profile fights you get and thus the sponsorship $'s increase.

This ranges depending on caliber of fighter. You can be like old school Crocop and train out of your own garage.

Agent - 5%
Management - 5% - 15%
Training facility rental.
Training partners.
Training equipment.
Food + supplements.
Accomodations for training partners.
Medical treatment. *
Tax *

After everything is said in done I'd imagine 30% - 50% of the fighters' purse goes to expenses.

Quick breakdown.

Millionaires
Anderson Silva
GSP
Brock
Tito

Six Figures on up
Frankie Edgar
Jose Aldo
Machida
Bisping

$100k or less
Most mid tiered fighters or ones on their way down.

$50k or less
Up and comers, gate keepers, journeyman, or aging fighters.

Like any sport or business it's based on performance. Prime example is Fedor. He was commanding over a million (Affliction/UFC offered $5 million apparently) for a fight which would be a record in MMA terms. After being undefeated for 10 YEARS he's now lost three in a row and has been cut. Which means ZERO income. Now he's fighting Jeff Monson. How crazy is that!

To summarize if you look at the fighters above they were ALL broke at one point in their careers and trained their ASSES off to get to where they are today. Now they earn the big bucks. So when people say oh he's afraid of this fighter or that...I usually shake my head.

Hope this gives you a little insight on the finances. We can probably break it down on a micro level, but that would take more time out of my day...haha.
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Old 11-03-2011, 01:41 PM   #3 (permalink)
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People seem to forget that members of good teams assist each other in training. They pay their team fees and it's all available to them. Then there's the unsolicited payments fighters might get backstage. Sponsorships add up to a huge amount, more so than their purse most of the time. Then as been mentioned the gyms that fighters themselves own. There's good profit to be made from them. Most competitors are sponsored by supplement companies and so get as much as they need.

This is all idealistic though, and newbies like Mitrione don't have the advantage of being accomplished enough to be comfortably earning yet
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Old 11-03-2011, 01:44 PM   #4 (permalink)
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I havent read any of this thread, other than the first few lines of the first post. I know for a fact it will be the same old 'fighters dont get paid enough' bullshit.

I'll say it again, NOBODY FORCES THEM TO FIGHT FOR A LIVING!!!


EDIT: Ok, so i read a bit more. Fighters get money from 3 or in some cases 4 places:

Fight show money
Win or other bonuses
a cut of the PPV
Sponsors
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Old 11-03-2011, 02:25 PM   #5 (permalink)
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Not to mention that sponsors basically are way more then their show money.
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Old 11-03-2011, 02:48 PM   #6 (permalink)
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Does anyone have any stats or facts for how much money guys are generally making off of sponsorship money? The only thing Ive ever heard specifically was that James Irvin was supposed to have been paid 50k for wearing warrior wear shorts when he fough Silva, and I never actually saw anything concrete on that number.
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Old 11-03-2011, 02:53 PM   #7 (permalink)
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Originally Posted by joshua7789 View Post
Does anyone have any stats or facts for how much money guys are generally making off of sponsorship money? The only thing Ive ever heard specifically was that James Irvin was supposed to have been paid 50k for wearing warrior wear shorts when he fough Silva, and I never actually saw anything concrete on that number.
I can give you personal numbers for what I have experienced running a brand.

KO Reps wanted $5000 for a product photoshoot with a fighter, my options were Johnathan Brookins or Anthony Njokouani, two lower lesser known fighters.
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Old 11-03-2011, 03:17 PM   #8 (permalink)
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I always ccringe at these threads. I can't stand the attitude that fighters/sportsmen have a devine right to be making millions upon millions every year.

The fact is these guys do something they love for a living and even the guys on the prelims are making more than the US average income for doing it.
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Old 11-03-2011, 03:19 PM   #9 (permalink)
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Originally Posted by edlavis88 View Post
I always ccringe at these threads. I can't stand the attitude that fighters/sportsmen have a devine right to be making millions upon millions every year.

The fact is these guys do something they love for a living and even the guys on the prelims are making more than the US average income for doing it.
It is because people are use to seeing HUGE numbers from other athletes. I always wished that athletes made like max $200,000 a year but hey, what do I know.
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Old 11-03-2011, 03:32 PM   #10 (permalink)
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Originally Posted by edlavis88 View Post
I always ccringe at these threads. I can't stand the attitude that fighters/sportsmen have a devine right to be making millions upon millions every year.

The fact is these guys do something they love for a living and even the guys on the prelims are making more than the US average income for doing it.
Where exactly did I even imply anything like that? I just want to understand the business side of MMA out of professional curiosity.
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