Jon Fitch made approximately $1.322 million over the course of his 18-fight career with the Ultimate Fighting Championship, including around $300,000 in bonus money.
Fitch, who was released by the UFC in February following a loss to Demian Maia, recently posted a video discussing his earnings with the promotion. Fitch has since inked a four-fight deal with the World Series of Fighting and will make his debut this Friday, headlining WSOF 3 against Josh Burkman at Hard Rock Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas. The main draw airs on the NBC Sports Network, while the preliminary card streams live and free on Sherdog.com.
Fitch’s video was likely made in response to comments recently made by UFC President Dana White, who referenced the welterweight’s earnings while telling MMAJunkie.com that Fitch was “delusional” for claiming that the UFC was a hostile work environment. However, Fitch did not have any dispute with White’s assertion that he made more than $302,000 in bonuses, as his estimate in that category was right in line with the UFC boss’s calculation.
“In my 18 fights with the UFC, I was paid $1,020,000. That was show money and win money. I also made about $300,000 in bonuses,” Fitch said. “Two of those bonuses were ‘Fight of the Night’ bonuses -- one was Georges St. Pierre, a $60,000 ‘Fight of the Night’ and the Erick Silva fight, that was a $70,000 bonus. So, in total, I made 1.322 million.
“That sounds like a lot of money, but let’s look at that a little bit closer. Out of the 18 fights, that fight purse of $1.020 million, I paid 20 percent of that to management and the gym,” Fitch continued. “If you take that number, $1.322 million, divide it by seven and a half years, I was roughly making just over $176,000 a year. Now remember, that’s before management and gym fees. You also have other expenses that you have to pay for, equipment and stuff like that.”
Fitch also did his own research in order to come up with a rough estimate of how much revenue the UFC generated for fight cards in which he took part. While the video Fitch posted included a disclaimer that the UFC figures he found might not be completely accurate, he said he was able to find ticket sales for 15 of his fights and pay-per-view buys for four of his bouts. According to Fitch’s figures, the promotion made a $36 million gate and $208 million in pay-per-view buys.
“Now, 50 to 60 percent of that money goes to whoever the [pay-per-view] provider is, which still leaves them with about $104 million on four [pay-per-views],” Fitch said. “If you add those two numbers [gate and pay-per-view buys] together you’re looking at $140 million. Now that is an extreme lowball for the amount of money that they’re making... I also have no idea what they’re making in sponsorships, merchandising, DVD sales, video game sales, and who knows what other kind of revenue they have coming in from other stuff that they’re selling.”
In terms of pay scale, Fitch says he was in the upper echelon of fighters on the UFC payroll.
“I was one of the fighters who was on the medium to high pay grade. because I won consistently . When you win consistently your pay bumps up every fight. If you lose, you get stuck at the same pay scale, so it’s important to win. Most fighters didn’t make as much money as I did. That’s a fact,” he said.
According to Fitch, money has never been the primary concern during a 31-fight professional career that began in 2002, even though the subject always seems to come up in tandem with discussion of his UFC release.
“I’ve always loved the money I made from fighting with the UFC and organizations before I fought with the UFC. I’ve never even complained about fighting when I had fought for $250 or $500,” Fitch said. “I didn’t even complain when I fought in an eight-man tournament in Mexico for $1,500. Money was never important to me. It’s not why I fight, it wasn’t the point of fighting. I wanted to be the best in the world and prove that I was the best in the world.”