How Do UFC Contracts Work? | Easily Explained

UFC Contracts have been a hot topic over the last few years.

In this page, we'll explain how UFC contracts work, when fighters can be cut, and when fighters can renegotiate from all of the information that has been made public to date.

    How Do UFC Contracts Work?

    The UFC will agree to pay a fighter X amount of dollars per fight, for 40 months and/or until the fighter fights out the number of fights in their entire contract.

    ufc contract

    UFC fighters receive a 'Show' bonus and a 'Win' bonus, and each of the two bonuses is typically the same amount.

    As long as the fighter shows up to the fight and makes the appropriate weight, the fighter will at a minimum receive their show bonus, ensuring that they will still get paid even if they lose.

    The fighter is eligible to receive UFC bonuses such as Fight of the Night Bonus, Performance of the Night bonus, and Fan of the Night bonus.

    An agent can also negotiate Pay Per Viewpoints, but is usually reserved for Superstar fighters who are 'draws', and/or UFC champions.

    When Can a Fighter Be Cut?

    The UFC can cut a fighter during their contract, and the situation where you'll see this typically happen is after a fighter suffers multiple consecutive losses.

    This doesn't mean that a fighter will get cut, but their name can be brought up in discussions.

    Renegotiating Contract

    The UFC is also able to renegotiate a fighter's contract, however, this typically results in the contract being extended an extra amount of years and/or fights.

    The UFC typically prefers to pay their rising talent a higher amount of money, as long as they can lock them in for additional fights.

    This means that if a fighter is making $50,000 per fight and has 2 fights left, the UFC can approach that fighter and give them a raise while extending their contract to having 6 fights left instead (adding 4 more fights).

    What this does is it gives a fighter an immediate bump in salary, while allowing the UFC to lock fighters in for a longer period.

    When a Fighter Declines a Fight

    According to Dana White, the UFC is also contractually obligated to offer a fighter 3 fights a year. If a fighter declines a fight, the UFC has the option to extend that fighter an additional 6 months.

    Recently the UFC has done this to ultra-popular fighter Nate Diaz, as they've extended his contract once he declined the fight against Khamzat Chimaev.

    Fighters Wanting New Contracts

    What MMA fans have seen over the last few years is fighters speaking out against UFC contracts.

    Famously, Francis Ngannou has been involved in a dispute with the UFC. Ngannou is seeking a new contract but has been unable to come to terms with the UFC for a renegotiation.

    The result of that has been Ngannou's manager has explained that negotiations have stalled, to the point that they have not heard from the UFC in 6 months.

    The most interesting part of this is that Ngannou has just defended his belt against Cyril Gane, and is now prepared to sit out for a year and/or be released by the company (despite being the champion).

    "(It) is optional because it says if at the end of the contract if you’re the champion, you’re extended for three fights or one year. So that all made me think it’s optional.”

    Ngannou goes on to explain that there is a champion's clause in his contract, that

    How Much Does a UFC Contract Pay?

    UFC contracts vary greatly as far as contracts. It comes down to where you are being signed from.

    Fighters from Dana White's Contender Series will be signed the least, to the point where it has been $5,000 to show and $5,000 to win.

    On the other hand, seasoned fighters such as Michael Chandler who came from the rival promotion Bellator, earned $253,500 for his UFC debut against Dan Hooker.

    Like any other negotiation, it comes down to what your market looks like. If you are a relatively unknown fighter, you will be at the bottom of the pay scale. If you are a known fighter, whose services are being bid on by multiple companies, you will be at the top of the pay scale.

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