I thought it would be interesting to do a comparison between UFC and Bellator salaries and see if we can learn anything from the stats.
The UFC have recently announced that it is dropping the PPV point models and that fighters compensation will be reflected in their salaries. If this is true the official salaries published and distributed to the media should start to reflect this and we should start seeing an increase in the reported salaries of UFC fighters on all cards but most especially PPV cards. The new relationship with ESPN is most probably the driving force behind this new system.
Bellator can be sketchy when it comes to fighter salaries. The US events are usually a lot more transparent than the world-wide events. For example while UFC 237 Fighter salaries are published within hours of last nights event. I haven’t seen the equivalent Bellator 221 publication. For the purposes of this article I am going to use the recent Bellator 220 event at the end of April for the comparison.
I would be delighted to get your feedback on this subject. For me the startling thing is how badly the Bellator prelim fighters seem to be paid. 1,200 and 1,500 dollar minimum guarantees. Not all fighters are on a win bonus system either.
Based on the UFC 237 salaries – It would seem they have set a 10,000 minmum for preliminary fighters. I am not sure if this is across all events or specifically for PPV cards. I suppose we will keep an eye on it as the time goes by.
The UFC also seem to be moving away from the Show and Win bonus system to a 100% show system. I think this is probably to be welcomed.
The UFC salaries below include the various performance of the night bonuses that the UFC adopt at each event that usually benefit up to 6 fighters on any given card.
One of the curiosities is that the UFC heavily penalize fighters that miss weight. At UFC 237 Beth Correia missed weight by 5 lbs and was fined 40% of her guaranteed show money $8,100. This went directly to her opponent Irene Aldana.
UFC 237 Fighter compensation.
Bellator 220 Fighter Compensation
As we can see from the above numbers Bellator still lag someways behind the UFC in terms of Total published fighter compensation. However if you took out the VAST premium the UFC is paying to aging brand ambassadors like Anderson Silva and BJ Penn the gap is significantly reduced. Where Bellator need to focus their attention on is increasing their minimum appearance fee from 1,200 to somewhere in the region of 5,000. This is a minimum that all fighters deserve fighting at this level. How can fighters even entertain pursuing a Bellator career full-time at these meagre levels of compensation.
If this increase has to come from marginally reducing what it is paying the top, top stars. Then so be it.