I'm very much interested in trying to become a professional fighter. I have great genes for these sorts of athletics and I'm pretty good naturally at martial arts, so I don't think I'm going to end up being that guy that never seemed to get anywhere because he just didn't have a knack for MMA. But it's my understanding that professional MMA fighters are paid much less than professional boxers. That's ok with me, I'm not doing it to get rich. But that doesn't mean I want to end up dirt poor either. A significant amount of time, money, and effort goes into training, even for people who never get past their first amateur bout, and I don't want to make that kind of investment unless I'm fairly certain that, at some point, I'll be able to fully support myself with just the money I make from fighting. So there are a few things I need to know.
Are fighters paid per-fight, even if they're on a contract? And if so, do they get more money for a win than for a loss?
Do fighters generally recieve the same pay, no matter what organization they're in? Ex. would someone fighting in the WEC recieve roughly the same pay as a fighter of similar skill that fights in the UFC?
At roughly what point would money from sponsors/fights be enough to allow the fighter to become wholly dependant on his fighting?
Are fighters allowed to fight in more than one organization? Ex. would a fighter signed with the WEC also be able to fight for Bodog?
About how long does the average fighter's career last before they're too old to continue fighting?
What sort of career options are available to fighters after they've retired from fighting?
Thanks to anyone who takes the time to help me out here.
1. Yes, fighters are paid per fight, regardless of being on a contract. The average pay varies, but it is fairly low. Fighting outside of the UFC, on smaller shows, you might not even make enough to cover your travel expenses. To put it into perspective, Keith Jardine got an official pay of 22,000(11,000 to show, 11,000 to win) for his fight with Chuck. Now I am sure he got more coin in bonuses for winning the fight, but if he lost, that is all he would have made. Keep in mind, he was main eventing a UFC show.
2. No, the pay is not the same at all. The UFC and WEC have similar pay ranges, but comparing the WEC to a smaller show, or a local show, no way man. A friend of mine fought last week and was paid $500 to show, $75 to win. No, he was not white trash or a bum or anything, he was just fighting on a local show.
3. Well it depends on your lifestyle. If you are the type that lives a lavish life and expects to train full time only on sponsors, you will probably go under. Sponsors pay decent, but not enough to cover full training expenses, especially if you are not in a big show. Said friend has one sponsor, a local bar, and they paid him $100 bucks to wear their t-shirt to the cage.
4. It depends if you are signed to the company or not. For example, organizations will pick up fighters for one fight only, or they need a replacement and you will only fight one fight for them. If this is the case, then you can very well be fighting for KOTC one month, and something else the next month if you wanted. However, if you seriously get into this, you will learn that there are a lot of politics in the amateur/professional scene and it isn't as glamorous as it seems on the TV.
5. Well it depends once again. Your career can end as soon as you get an injury. It all depends on how active you are, and the specific fighter. If you are only fighting a couple of times a year then your career will generally last longer, but if you are muscling in 8-10 fights a year, then unless you take some time off, it will take it's effects on your body.
6. There are many career options. You can open up your own gym, which is a very good business option. You can go into training. You can start working inside the companies. There is a lot to do after a successful, and even at times not such a successful career.
What I'd suggest to you my friend is to start training, and get some amateur MMA fights in. I will tell you this much, MMA is not everything that it seems in the UFC. To be successful you have to have that mean streak or "killer instinct" inside of you. The amateur and pro scenes are VERY underdeveloped and there are a lot of problems that make people shy away from the sport.
If you have any more questions, feel free to PM me.
Hope I helped.