With another event down in the great state of Georgia, fight fans are getting another peak behind the curtain for just how well the Professional Fighters League pays their athletes. The PFL made major headlines this year, both with their signing of former UFC champion Francis Ngannou to a multi-million dollar contract, and for their reported deal with social media influencer and celebrity boxing sensation Jake Paul. While Paul’s contract appears to be principally as a ‘brand ambassador’ for the promotion, there’s also apparently room for him to compete in MMA as well, should he wish to do so.
So while the PFL is splashing out big on celebrity attractions, what’s the rest of the promotion pulling down? At PFL 4 2023, two fighters took home $100k paydays. That seems to be the high water mark here as well, but with a few more athletes getting their hands on six-figure purses.
Aspen Ladd among 5 fighters to grab $100k purses at PFL 5
Unsurprising among the list of fighters drawing top money for the latest PFL event are former tournament champions Larissa Pacheco and Ante Delija. Both athletes have had long tenures under the promotion’s banner, with Pacheco making her PFL debut in 2019, in just her second fight after getting released from the UFC four years before.
Pacheco lost to Kayla Harrison twice that year, before rattling off a 5-fight unbeaten streak capped by a win over Harrison to claim the 2022 women’s lightweight title. Pacheco is 2-0 in 2023, with wins over Julia Budd and Amber Leibrock.
Delija first made his debut with the PFL back in 2019 as well, but didn’t become a steady part of the roster until 2021, after a failed bid to sign with the UFC. ‘Walking Trouble’ played runner up that year to Bruno Cappelozza in the heavyweight tournament finals, but went 4-0 in 2022 to win the crown the following year. His victory over Maurice Green at PFL 5 was his first bout of 2023, after a cancelled April booking against Yorgan De Castro.
The other fighters making solid ends at PFL 5 were Denis Goltsov, Aspen Ladd, and Julia Budd. While none of those fighters are yet to make it to a tournament Finals in any of the past four PFL seasons, it’s not terribly surprising that any of them would be on higher earning contracts. Budd entered the PFL just two fights removed from losing her Bellator women’s featherweight title to Cris Cyborg in 2020. While Goltsov first hit the PFL cage in 2019, as a former ACB champion. While he’s only lost twice with the promotion in 11 fights since being signed, visa issues have notably hampered his ability to compete stateside.
As for Aspen Ladd, she has no titles to her name as a pro-fighter, but she and Budd were both key signings by the PFL in hopes of keeping Kayla Harrison with the promotion for the foreseeable future. Ladd made her PFL debut in November of last year, defeating Julia Budd by split decision. She followed that win with a majority decision loss to Olena Kolesnyk at PFL 2 back in April.
Complete PFL 5 salaries
Here’s a look at the complete list of salaries for PFL 5, as disclosed by the Georgia State Athletic Commission (h/t MMA Fighting).
- Ante Delija – $100,000 ($50k/$50k | Show/Win)
- Maurice Green – $21,000
- Larissa Pacheco – $100,000 ($50k/$50k | Show/Win)
- Amber Leibrock – $11,000
- Renan Ferreira – $50,000 ($25k/$25k | Show/Win)
- Matheus Scheffel – $25,000
- Olena Kolesnyk – $40,000 ($20k/$20k | Show/Win)
- Yoko Higashi – $10,000
- Denis Goltsov – $100,000 ($50k/$50k | Show/Win)
- Yorgan De Castro – $50,000
- Aspen Ladd – $100,000 ($50k/$50k | Show/Win)
- Karolina Sobek – $8,000
- Marcelo Nunes – $30,000 ($15k/$15k | Show/Win)
- Danilo Marques – $11,000
- Julia Budd – $100,000 ($50k/$50k | Show/Win)
- Martina Jindrova – $24,000
- Marina Mokhnatkina – $44,000 ($22k/$22k | Show/Win)
- Evelyn Martins – $13,000
- Jordan Heiderman – $20,000 ($10k/$10k | Show/Win)
- Patrick Brady – $10,000
- Isaiah Pinson – $13,000 ($6.5k/$6.5k | Show/Win)
- Denzel Freeman – $6,500
Note: As always, these payout numbers do not reflect any potential side letter agreements, locker room bonus, performance bonus, sponsorship deals, or other non-purse related income athletes may receive as part of their participation in PFL events. These numbers also do not include any fines, taxes, manager/coaching fees, or other witholdings that may be removed from a fighter’s income due to their participation in PFL events. These numbers are only the base fight purse information as relayed by the promotion to the state of Georgia.
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