How Many Fights Do UFC Fighters Have a Year? | Explained
In this page, we'll go over how many fights UFC fighters have a year, why it's that amount, how it's different for champions and up and comers, as well as how medical suspensions and matchmaking affect their activity.
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How Many Fights Do UFC Fighters Have a Year
On average UFC fighters fight 2-3 times a year. Champions fight much less frequently, where as up and comers fight much more frequently. There is no off-season in MMA, which means fighters have to take time off to heal from injuries, or go on vacations in between fights.
Up and Comers
Up and comers have to fight much more frequently as they have to make their way up the rankings, and they do not get paid as much.
In 2020, the average pay for a UFC fighter was $147,965.
However, in one of the biggest recent cards in UFC 268, there were four fighters who earned less than $20,000.
You can quickly see why this category of fighters are incentivized to fight more times a year, than an established fighter.
Additionally, the higher their ranking, the better chance that they have to fight for the title, and they can eventually renegotiate their contract.
Fighting for the title not only cements their place in history, but they will receive champions pay as well.
UFC champions receive pay per view points which is where the bulk of their pay comes from, in addition to their large base salary.
Champions are much more likely to take their time picking their opponents, as they are in the driver's seat of the match ups, and the contenders have to fight each other to sort out who deserves to fight the champion.
Most fighters end up going into fights with a preexisting injury, however champions will be much more inclined to make sure that their injury is taken care of before fighting.
They know that losing the title can cost them millions of dollars in opportunity cost, so they will be much more cautious and smart with their approach.
Suspension in Between Fights
The athletic commission will often issue medical suspensions for fighters when they sustained injuries, or as suspected to have sustained injuries.
A fighter will need to take that mandatory suspension, unless they are cleared by a doctor.
These types of suspensions are common in the MMA world, and can also be a reason why fighters may not fight as often, as they can be injured after their fight.
No Match Ups Available
Another reason why fighters may not fight as often in a calendar year is due to no match ups being available.
Earlier, we mentioned that fighters want to climb the ranking ladder in order to renegotiate their contract and fight for the title.
This means that they will lean towards fighting other fighters who are ranked ahead of them in the rankings.
If no fighters ahead of them are available (they are all booked for their own fights), they may just opt to sit out until one becomes available, rather than risk losing their ranking fighting a lower ranked fighter.
This can be the perfect storm for inactivity, and is a situation that many fighters find themselves in.