Floyd Mayweather is one of the best-paid athletes in the world. In fact, according to The Body Lock, he made even more money than the entire UFC roster combined. This seems absurd, but it adds up. Here’s why.
Floyd Mayweather’s numbers
The UFC is a private organization, so it doesn’t have to publically disclose how much it pays its fighters. However, due to a recent lawsuit, the UFC was forced to release some of its financial data. In regards to fighter pay, the documents revealed that between December 2010 and June 2017, the organization paid its fighters a total of $626 million.
In comparison, Mayweather is one of three athletes to earn over $1 billion in their careers. Even if you only count the money Mayweather made between 2010 and 2017, he still edges out the UFC. Estimates vary, and according to The Body Lock, Mayweather made $638 million during that time. However, according to GOBankingRates, Mayweather’s total paychecks during those seven years add up to over $750 million.
That said, we should note that Mayweather’s massive paychecks include his fight with Conor McGregor, whereas the UFC’s numbers don’t. That’s not relevant though, as McGregor’s fight with Mayweather was a boxing match, whereas every other UFC fighter’s paycheck came from a regular UFC fight.
Why Mayweather was paid so much
The reason why Mayweather was paid so much compared to everyone else in the UFC comes down to one of the biggest differences between the UFC and boxing. In the UFC, fighters are independent contractors who fight for the UFC and no other organizations.
In boxing, due to the Muhammad Ali Act, boxers are free to fight in any organization they want. Usually, it’s the ones that’ll pay the most money for the fight. As a result, boxers, especially the popular and high-level ones, can easily get paid more than UFC fighters.
Mayweather is also one of the most popular fighters ever, so millions of people will spend money to watch him fight. Furthermore, boxing is an older and larger sport than MMA. As a result, most UFC fighters won’t get paid much. Even the highest-paid UFC fighters aren’t comparable to Mayweather.
On top of this, Mayweather is allowed to use his popularity to get as much sponsorship and endorsement money as he can. UFC fighters, however, aren’t allowed much liberty because the organization has exclusive contracts with sponsors. This prevents fighters from getting many sponsors of their own.
Will the UFC ever catch up?
Other MMA promotions, like Bellator, spend about 45% of revenue on just paying fighters, according to The Body Lock. The UFC, on the other hand, pays about 19% of its revenue. Clearly, other organizations are willing to spend more.
Because UFC fighters can only compete in the UFC, other organizations can’t poach UFC fighters until their contracts are done. With that said, there’s a growing campaign to apply the Muhammad Ali Act to MMA. Andrew Yang, a presidential candidate, wants to do this. If it happens, then other MMA businesses can try to entice popular UFC fighters to their organizations.
This would force the UFC to try to outbid those organizations. The result of the competition may be higher pay for UFC fighters. There’s a lot of debate on this topic though. Some argue that the Muhammad Ali Act would harm MMA. But when some UFC fighters are making just $12,000 to fight, it’s no wonder Mayweather has been paid better than the entire UFC roster.