Fighter pay continues to be a hot topic among fighters and fans of the UFC.
Fighters representing the past, present and future of the promotion have been coming out of the woodwork to call out the organization and its president Dana White over poor treatment and pay disputes. Recently, Anderson Silva, Tony Ferguson and Paddy Pimblett voiced their displeasure with the UFC’s current pay structure.
Why a UFC Ring Girl Earns More Money Than Justin Gaethje and Charles Oliveira, and the UFC’s History of Fighter Pay Complaints
UFC heavyweight champion Francis Ngannou had a very public dispute with the organization after winning gold in March 2021. While the champion is currently recovering from knee surgery, it is becoming more and more likely that we’ve seen the last of ‘The Predator’ in the Octagon following his successful defense of the heavyweight title at UFC 270.
There have been plenty of arguments from both sides of the fence. Those advocating for better pay often reference the UFC’s low revenue share when compared to other professional sports organizations. Per a report from Forbes, over the last 11 years, the UFC has consistently hovered at a revenue share of 19-20%. That means that of all the revenue earned by the UFC, roughly 20% goes to the fighters. In comparison, organizations like the MLB, NFL, NHL and NBA often hover in the area of 50% revenue share.
On the flip side is a much simpler argument; the fighter signed the contract. They knew what they were going to get when they put pen to paper. That is certainly a fair point, but what about the fighter that suddenly skyrockets to fame after one or two appearances. Paddy Pimblett is a great example of this. Pimblett entered the UFC as a relative unknown. After back-to-back finishes in his first two appearances, Pimblett has immediately become a fan favorite, and as a result, is arguably worth far more than his $12,000 base pay per fight.
The Story of How Brittany Palmer’s Only Fans Enables Her to Make More Money than UFC Fighters
Still not sure where you stand on the argument of fighter pay? Perhaps this will help you decide:
Tenured ring girl Brittany Palmer joined the organization in 2011 and her popularity immediately earned her Ring Card Girl of the Year. Since then, Palmer has amassed a plethora of fans and immense wealth. According to WealthyGenius.com, Palmer’s net worth is $5 million dollars. Now, Palmer’s worth is not entirely from the UFC, but there is no doubt that her work with the promotion was the catalyst for her financial success.
In 2012, Palmer posed in Playboy Magazine and has since grown a large following on OnlyFans. Aside from her work as a model, Palmer is an accomplished artist who sells original paintings through her website for thousands of dollars.
With more than 310,000 likes on Palmer’s OnlyFans page, many within the MMA community have taken notice and began utilizing the site for a financial boost. Former UFC fighters turned BKFC scrappers Paige VanZant and Pearl Gonzalez have grown a significant following through the platform in recent years. VanZant has gone on record confirming that she makes more money from her online presence than she ever did inside the Octagon.
In the end, there are plenty of arguments that can be made on either side regarding fighter pay and the opportunities fighters receive outside of the cage. One thing is for certain; the debate is far from over, but with Dana White and the UFC holding strong on their stance, one has to wonder how long it will be before more UFC stars look to the bright lights of the squared circle to secure their financial future.