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How Much Do Low-level MMA Fighters Make?

Looking to get into MMA but don’t know where to start? I’ll outline the basics of low-level MMA fighters. Here’s how much low-level MMA fighters actually make:

DurationAppearance PayWinning PayCombined Pay (App + Win)
Per Fight$200 — $400$200 — $400$400 — $600
Per Year$600 — $2400$600 — $2400$1200 — $4800

This table shows the average base pay and winning pay for low-level MMA fighters.

However, these figures change drastically depending on where you fight, how long you have been fighting, and how many tickets sales you contribute.

It’s very much possible for low-level fighters not to earn even a penny out of the fight. MMA fighting requires years of dedication to get some worthwhile paychecks ahead.

If you’re looking to start your journey as an amateur MMA fighter or you’re just curious about how much money those local fighters make in your area, I’ll guide you through every piece of information.

Keep reading!

How Much Money Do Low-Level MMA Fighters Make Per Match?

A low-level MMA fighter earns an average of $300 per fight in the first few fights. Amateurs fighters can earn up to $300 as a winning bonus. Fighters can further increase their earnings by selling fight tickets and getting percentage commissions per sale.

As a beginner, it may take a few months before you reap your first paychecks. After a few fights, you should be looking for some sponsorship options.

That $300 per fight is only the first paycheck and there are many expenses that go along with being an amateur fighter. For example, training costs, taxes, gymming fees, and special MMA diet plans. In some cases, fighters even have to bear travel expenses to get to fighting arenas.

Until you’re signed by a Mixed Martial Arts promotion like UFC, Bellator, FNG, etc, MMA is a money sinkhole for fighters. Don’t expect your fight to be telecasted on any television channel (unless you’re lucky!)

Most MMA fighters fail to go pro and don’t feature on big screens because of:

  • Consistent Injuries
  • Lack of Funds
  • Lack of Exposure and Endorsements

All of these reasons get down to one big reason, i.e, lack of money to continue training and fighting.

In some fights, amateur MMA fighters don’t get paid base pay at all. They only rely on ticket commissions.

Let’s uncover some statistics about fighters’ earnings from MMA ticket sales.

How Much Do MMA Fighters Get From Tickets Sales?

MMA Fighters can get up to 40% commissions for ticket sales depending on promotions and negotiations. The commission earnings can be much more than the base pay of fighting, sometimes exceeding $1000.

To make it simpler, consider a scenario of two fighters participating in a low-level MMA competition.

Fighter “X”Fighter “Y”
Appearance Pay$300$300
Winning Pay$300$300
Ticket Commission Percentage20%30%
Price of a Single Ticket$20$20
Tickers Sold70200
Tickets Revenue$320$1200
Total Earnings Per Match$880$1800

This table shows the average difference in earnings based on the number of tickets sold for an MMA low-level fight.

Since most amateur MMA fights take place in local US gyms, those small gyms offer commissions to fighters who help bring more audience. Local gyms have fewer funds to run on their own and often rely on selling fighting tickets.

As an amateur MMA fighter, your earnings depend more on selling tickets and generating hype rather than having actual boxing skills. 

This surely brings down the quality of fighting to some extent, and that’s completely understandable — As many low-level fighters don’t have funds to continue their training or MMA classes.

If you consider yourself a ‘show stealer,’ try to bring more audience to your fight. Here’s what fighters do to generate more ticket sales:

  • Designing own t-shirts and distributing them among the fans.
  • Asking your friends and family to watch your fights.
  • Finding local brands as a sponsor.
  • Entertaining with unique moves and styles to get the public eye.
  • Getting more followers by engaging fans.
  • Collaborating with other MMA fighters.
  • Becoming a social media influencer.
  • Participating in charity or exhibition matches.

In the end, your goal as an MMA fighter is to make fans love you more and more…

Can You Make a Living Being a Low-Level MMA Fighter?

You can’t make a living being a low-level MMA fighter. Earnings from low-level MMA competitions are barely enough for the daily expenses of a fighter. Most amateur fighters will need a job to continue their training and meet their ends.

I’m sorry to break this news to you being an MMA fan, but it is what it is — You shouldn’t expect any good payouts (maybe none!) in the initial stages of your MMA career.

You’re making $300 or even below per MMA fight as a low-level fighter, which is way too below than the cost of living in the USA.

Mixed Martial Arts isn’t a cheap sport. Passion isn’t the only thing required that can take you places in MMA.

However, there is no way you can end up directly as a UFC fighter wearing championship belts. You have to follow the steps every MMA fighter has to go through in his or her career.

Amateur fights aren’t governed by top-tier MMA promotions such as UFC. Instead, it’s controlled by IMMAF which is a non-profit organization under Swedish law.

Some Examples

We all Conor McGregor’s skills in the MMA but most people don’t know the backstory of his life. He used to live on social welfare until he got the attention of the UFC — And the rest is history!

Another success story is of Francis Ngannou, a Cameroon resident who worked in salt mines and slept in the parks. He later became the top heavyweight MMA fighter.

In the start, the only things that will ignite your passion will be your dedication and love for combat sports. You won’t be getting a lot of money but you’ll surely start getting recognition.

Georges-Saint-Pierre, a big name in the MMA, used to work three jobs simultaneously to get admission to a college.

Conclusion

Mixed Martial Arts is not a cheap sport. You will need dedication, love for combat sports, and luck to become a successful MMA fighter. 

In the beginning, you may only receive very little pay for your efforts although over time this may change depending on your reputation and achievements.

You will also need to start your career from the lower-side at first, in amateur fights. As you get more experience and build up a stable of victories under your belt, then you can possibly move on to promoters where these professionals will look after funding for training camps or fight opportunities.

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