Jorge Masvidal: UFC pays new fighters ‘unbelievably well,’ they won’t get $20,000 elsewhere

Former 'BMF' champion and fight promoter Jorge Masvidal says the UFC's pay structure for new fighters is much better compared to boxing.

By: Milan Ordoñez | 4 months ago
Jorge Masvidal: UFC pays new fighters ‘unbelievably well,’ they won’t get $20,000 elsewhere
Jorge Masvidal during his Australian tour in Sydney in 2020. | IMAGO / ZUMA

Since announcing his retirement in April, Jorge Masvidal has mostly been wearing the promoter hat. The former UFC ‘BMF’ champion also runs his very own Gamebred FC, and is fresh off GFC 4 in May, an event that reportedly shelled out almost $3 million in fighter pay combined. 

Masvidal recently sat down for an hour-long interview with Jake Paul, where he spoke about that particular hot topic. 

Jorge Masvidal has one critique about UFC fighter pay

Previous contract issues notwithstanding, Jorge Masvidal remains grateful for the opportunities granted to him by the UFC. During the interview with Paul, “Gamebred” made sure to give his props to his former bosses. But he did mention a bit of a disparity. 

“It’s an interesting situation with the UFC. The pay’s gone up in some areas, and in some areas, not. 

“I got nothing but good stuff to say about Dana. Though our relationship wasn’t always the best in the beginning, I got nothing but good stuff to say. He’s allowed me to create so much money, so much publicity, marketing, all that stuff, and he’s helped me out tremendously. 

“Me, personally, I’m biased. I’m not the right person to ask, ‘cause I’m, like a Dana candidate. But, I’m also (about) ‘pay fighters more.’” 

For Masvidal, higher ranked fighters especially should be able to live off their income and not have to look for another earning source.

“I have always advocated (for fighter pay) throughout my career, now that I’m retired, even more. More money for the fighters. Because it’s a f—ng tough job. You shouldn’t be in the top 10, having to f—ng work at Walmart or something. 

“If you’re in the top 15, you should be set that you’re making enough money per fight, whether you have sponsors or not. That all your bills are covered.” 

Jorge Masvidal credits UFC pay structure for new fighters

Jorge Masvidal then offered a flip side of the situation, citing the UFC’s supposed generosity towards newer fighters. 

“But, there’s also a lot of upside to it because a lot of people don’t talk about this: in boxing, you don’t get paid shit until your 30th professional fight. (Jake Paul’s) case is different, because he came with this massive amount of followers. 

But every other boxer, the only way they get famous is by fighting. And they don’t get paid shit in the beginning. 

“The UFC pays guys at the beginning great, and at the mid-stage great. But where we need help is in that upper gap that’s been throwing down for a minute. Those guys get a little bit overlooked with the pay.

“But in the beginning structures of it, the UFC takes care of guys really, really well. Like unbelievably well. Especially compared to boxing or any other promotion out there. They’re paying the guy $20K/$20K, you will never get that on the regional scene.” 

How true are Masvidal’s fighter pay claims?

It’s worth noting that most “new” UFC fighters are talented and already established MMA fighters or champions from the regional scene. And once they make it to the pinnacle of the sport, for most of them, it will probably take several wins before they reach the $20,000 to show and $20,000 to win that Masvidal mentioned.

Records show that most new UFC fighters start out at $12,000 to show $12,000 to win, and the huge chunk of fighters coming from Contender Series and TUF get paid even less, at $10,000.

Masvidal is right about contenders and champions being severely underpaid, with their boxing counterparts earning far bigger purses. The main difference being the fighter’s revenue share, as boxing headliners take most of the pie and a big cut of every single revenue source. In the UFC, it’s the promoter that keeps an overwhelming majority of the money.

Masvidal made a comparison to boxing pay, and to give more context, it’s worth noting that UFC paid fighters even less in 2022, while their record breaking profits were more than every single fight promoter on earth, combined.

As revenue has gone up, UFC’s expenses and fighter pay have also gone down significantly. They are now estimated to only give fighters around 13% of the revenue.

Jorge Masvidal’s UFC return?

The 38-year-old Masvidal recently brought up the idea of a comeback and refuses to shut the door completely, something Hall of Famer Daniel Cormier advised against. But should he decide to return, the proud Miami native says it has to be for the right price. 

‘Let me see how many zeros…’ I don’t give a f—k about the names. How much zeros are attached to that name… alright, let’s go.”

Masvidal last saw action at UFC 287 in April against Gilbert Burns, whom he lost to via unanimous decision. He’s on a five-fight losing streak on his record, which stands at 35-17.  

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About the author
Milan Ordoñez
Milan Ordoñez

Milan Ordoñez has been covering combat sports since 2012 and has been part of the Bloody Elbow staff since 2016. He’s also competed in amateur mixed martial arts and submission grappling tournaments.

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