It’s pretty safe to say that ESPN reporters John Barr and Josh Gross have taken a ton of flack for their UFC fighter pay story, not only from the UFC, but also from fans and fellow media members. Rather than try to respond to all the criticism on outlets like Twitter, Gross brought Barr onto his podcast, Gross Point Blank, to address the situation and defend their decision to run the story despite not having clear evidence proving or disproving that UFC fighter pay is as “brutally low” as their anonymous sources claim.
For what it’s worth, former UFC fighter Sean McCorkle went on the UG to talk about his experience with the promotion.
I keep hearing so many things back and forth on the issue I thought I’d give the UG the real story on UFC pay. At least as it pertains to me.
During my 3 fight stint with the UFC the paid me exactly 150% what they were contractually obligated to pay me. That is without a KO/Sub/Fight of the night bonus of any kind. That is even though I lost 2 of my 3 fights.
I got a discretionary bonus after all 3 of my fights, even an amount equal to my what would have been my win bonus after my embarrassing performance against Stephan Struve. I was told that was given to me based strictly on the effort I put in to promoting the fight, and not because of how I performed.
I am currently unaware of any pro sports franchise that pays any player more money than they are obligated to do so.
Sponsorship wise during those 3 fights I made an average each fight of about 75% of what I was contracted to be paid by the UFC. So if my purse for fighting was $10,000 I made approximately $7,500 in sponsors on average.
Take an average fighter’s reported pay for a televised fight, and double it, and you’ll have a rough number of the amount he made on that fight. So if a guy is reported at $12,000 to show, and $12,000 to win, chances are he’ll make around $50,000 by the time it’s all said and done for that fight.
Recommended reading: What We Talk About When We Talk About UFC Fighter Pay by MMA Fighting’s Ben Fowlkes