Jon Fitch: My UFC Money

Recently Jon Fitch posted a video discussing his UFC earnings. In doing so, Fitch has given us a rare glimpse into the guarded world of the big show’s economics and the compensation(s) given to a fighter of Jon’s stature.

Over a span of 18 fights and 8 years with the UFC, Fitch amassed a record of 14-3 & 1. In doing so, he earned a total of (a little over) 1,300,000 (US) dollars. Of that, he paid out over a quarter-of-a-million dollars in management and gym fees. This left Jon with an average salary of (roughly) $176,000 a year, before taxes.

Regarding his feelings about his compensation Jon stated…“I’ve never complained about money. I’ve always loved the money I made from fighting with the UFC…” yet, in listening to his declarations I can’t help but sense a hint of spite in the words. My guess is that Jon hasn’t gotten over being cut and to be honest I don’t blame him. Personally, I feel Jon was cut for reasons of economics and the distinct possibility that Dana wasn’t a big fan. Put the two together and Fitch, a ranked (#9) fight when cut, was out the door. Subsequently, I believe the video is Jon’s way of hitting back and in the only manner that he can and that’s by talking the numbers out-of-school.

I believe that what Jon is really saying here is this, that if you look at the money the UFC is making, which is a great deal by virtue of the numbers he was throwing around, that his pay-out was a drop in the bucket and that there was no legitimate reason to cut him. I agree with him on both points and I believe the financial records and Jon’s own fight record supports the case.

Further, I believe this is gamesmanship on Jon’s behalf. That he is attempting to stir the pot with the UFC and its rostrum of fighters, most of whom are not making huge cash and he hopes that the fans will be the spoon.  So, when Jon states at the end of the video that…“I thought it was important for the fans to know what the numbers actually are and to get some kind of perspective on what fighters are actually getting paid…” I see that as Fitch baiting White, by letting the fans have some idea of the kind of cash the UFC is making relative to what they pay their fighters. It’s both a poke in the eye to Dana and statement to the fans about how much more the promotion could be paying their “fighting staff”. 

“Money was never important to me…I wanted to be the best in the world and to prove that I was the best in the world.” I think as far as Fitch goes, his words are honest. I also believe that they lay at the heart of his video. He was a ranked fighter who had never lost so much as two fights in a row and the cut made no sense to him. By letting him go Dana crushed his dream and it’s probably apt to stay crushed and Jon knows it. For @ age 35 and with the issues that led to him being cut in the first place, chances of Jon working his way back to the big show are probably slight.

So what’s a fighter to do when he’s ******-off, his dream has been crushed and his UFC money is no longer important to him? Ironically, the answer seems to be to shoot a video in which the fighter discusses his UFC money and then to post it online.

Jon always was a grinder.


34 Comments

  1. Profile photo of yhn

    yhn

    June 11, 2013 at 7:46 pm

    Awesome

    • Profile photo of ShenronRage

      ShenronRage

      June 11, 2013 at 10:18 pm

      Yeah, I always wanted to know, well now we all do. About time someone high profile opened up. I always knew that new guys didn't make ****, but I can't believe Fitch didn't really make **** either.

      • Profile photo of Brian Cox

        Brian Cox

        June 12, 2013 at 12:24 am

        As good as 180K a year might sound relative the sports-world it's nothing.

        I mean I'd take, we all would, but that's before we factor in putting in all the time, energy and effort, as well as taking the daily beatings in the gym and then in the fight itself.

        Personally, I think that's a low rage rate.

        And let's not forget too…that 180K average is going to be heavily back-ended, which is to say for his first few years in he wouldn't have been making 180k. His first big pay-day probably came with his first big-loss – GSP 208. He signed with the UFC in 2005.

        As 321 commented….Don't be surprised if UFC fighters are serving you your shake at McDonald's….tomorrow. :-)

        • Profile photo of ShenronRage

          ShenronRage

          June 12, 2013 at 2:03 am

          He didn't make that much when he fought GSP either, remember Carwin. He talked about his fight with Brock, and I remember him saying that he got no special deal as a contender. You don't make anything unless you are a champ, and even then I'm not sure they get paid what they are worth either.

  2. Profile photo of enjoylife321

    enjoylife321

    June 11, 2013 at 7:52 pm

    Don't be surprised if UFC fighters are serving you your shake at Mc Donalds after they retire broke, injured and depressed.

    Fitch needs to be congratulated for coming forward and telling it how it is…

    The UFC are so full of crap when they tell everyone we don't let people know what these guys earn to protect them…

    Even GSP probably isn't getting what he truly deserves for being the Canadian super PPV king..

    .

    • Profile photo of Brian Cox

      Brian Cox

      June 11, 2013 at 8:41 pm

      Given what Jon told us, the breakdown for the four PPVs' that he discusses was roughly 29 million in gross profits per show. I believe that number is before fighter payouts and bonuses and before covering the costs of renting the venue and any other associated costs. Beyond that, the UFC has to pay it's own overhead.

      To me, I think the biggest un-told story here and perhaps where the fighters are really getting ripped off is not the PPV money, but rather all the other revenue streams. Jon makes not of this and says he has no idea as to what it is, but he and we, all know it must be huge.

      IMO – no matter how you dice it, the fighters are under paid.

      • Profile photo of enjoylife321

        enjoylife321

        June 11, 2013 at 10:35 pm

        exactly, when bug light, harley davidson and the other major sponsors throw millions at them….

        I'm adding it up now in my calculator and i'm getting an error message..It saying the number is too big

        • Profile photo of Brian Cox

          Brian Cox

          June 12, 2013 at 12:41 am

          There is a question you should always consider before you buy an existing business….What is the business?

          Example (and a true story): There was a guy in Florida, a boat builder, he built high-end speed boats and he made a lot of money. From time-to-time he would be approached by people who had two three things, money, no knowledge of boat building and a desire to be in the boat building business.

          Why not? You can make a great deal of money "if" you know what you're doing and you're a craftsman.

          As you have probably figured out by now and the point to the question is this, he would sell them the business. Why not? He's a businessman. To sell the business would be to put millions of dollars in his pocket. So he did.

          Of course when they took possession of the business, all it's materials and staff that stayed, they found out quickly that "he" was the business. It was his name as a builder that mattered to the purchasers of the boats. When he picked-up and moved to a new location his customers followed. The old business failed.

          He repeated this process several times until someone shot him.

          In my opinion, Dana runs a business comprised comprised of great boat builders, however, he himself is not one.

      • Profile photo of enjoylife321

        enjoylife321

        June 11, 2013 at 10:36 pm

        great article Brian……!

  3. Profile photo of N.C.

    N.C.

    June 11, 2013 at 7:59 pm

    WHATS THE BONUSES!?!

    To be honest, I want to hear the bonus breakdowns. NOT from the fighters we all know. But the guys coming up. To those guys its make or break.

    • Profile photo of Brian Cox

      Brian Cox

      June 11, 2013 at 8:32 pm

      I had a similar thought. Jon should have given us a breakdown of his year-to-year earnings and how they grew.

      I remember Rory MacDonald saying on his UFC Prime Time show (Penn / MacDonald) that he'd just bought his first car and I thought to myself, man…I thought this kid would have been doing better financially.

      UFC money seems to be a ********* hole. No light in and very little light out.

      • Profile photo of enjoylife321

        enjoylife321

        June 12, 2013 at 12:20 am

        Its only a matter of time before others follow Fitch lead and reveal more…I've heard of guys getting backroom bonuses, you automatically think ohh wow..and then you find out its like $5,000….
        just think realistically….if a guy gets 10K to show and 10K to win…does anyone think dana is coming backstage after the fight and saying here is another 200K…thought you were great ! it doesn't happen…the locker bonuses are like an extra $5,000 and $10,000. It may be alot more if you are super high profile like wanderlie silva….
        i wouldn't be surprised if dana has written out cheques for $50,000 to $100,000 to people like wanderlie after an awesome fight….but anyone who does not have silva as a surname will be recieving very modest bonuses. Look how many guys are screaming out for bonuses like fight of the night, KO or submission because they realise how huge it is in relation to what they will recieve overall…

        • Profile photo of Brian Cox

          Brian Cox

          June 12, 2013 at 2:17 am

          Yeah man, when you're first starting out it's all about that bonus money. Still to this day, when I read the payouts and I see guys fighting on the card and they got paid…10 grand, 14 grand…I'm not even so sure I haven't seen a figure under 10…it's pathetic. Absolutely pathetic. Some of the money doesn't seem to be any better than what I'd expect to see on some small under-ground show on a chicken ranch in the middle of nowhere.

          Sad and this is Jon's poke in the eye to Dana. If you think I was costing you money…let's see if I can really cost you some money, by ****ing off your fans, because they're not really fans of yours…they're fans of your contractors.

          • Profile photo of enjoylife321

            enjoylife321

            June 12, 2013 at 2:41 am

            well said….

            Imagine this also, you have got television shows like jersey shore with reality tv stars getting paid millions. And what the fuk do they do…?

            UFC pay established athletes free board in a cramped house and $5000 if they get a knockout bonus per fight….Their fights on ultimate fighter are broadcast all around the world..HELLO

            Seriously, i hate seeing these athletes get ripped off. Everyone knows how hard they train, the injuries they suffer, more importantly the shows they put on.

          • Profile photo of Brian Cox

            Brian Cox

            June 12, 2013 at 3:15 am

            That is such an outstanding point, 321.

            You've got these clowns, like buddy with the constant tan and six-pack he's always showing off (I don't know his name and I refuse to learn), whose as dumb as a stump and thinks he's some kind of fighter from what I gather..and on "juice" I'm sure…and he's a freaking millionaire for doing it.

            When you compare the two houses, the money being made and more importantly whose really "creating" the wealth that is being carved up, it really is off the charts wacko.

            As you might say, you walk into you local restaurant for breakfast and that short, fat, stupid constantly drunk ******* Jersey shores, the one with the dyed black hair and ***** bigger than she is tall…is not…going to be your waitress, however happy or sad that may make you.

            However, you might walk into the same restaurant and be served by a confident, generally articulate, obviously in shape male or female waiter…who may be…a signed UFC fighter and you might ever recognize said fighter, because you recently saw them on a reality TV show about fighting called "TUF".

            …and so Jon stirs the pot. :-)

            He's a grinder.

          • Profile photo of Brian Cox

            Brian Cox

            June 12, 2013 at 3:18 am

            That is such an outstanding point, 321.

            You've got these clowns, like buddy with the constant tan and six-pack he's always showing off (I don't know his name and I refuse to learn), whose as dumb as a stump and thinks he's some kind of fighter from what I gather..and on "juice" I'm sure…and he's a freaking millionaire for doing it.

            When you compare the two houses, the money being made and more importantly whose really "creating" the wealth that is being carved up, it really is off the charts wacko.

            As you might say, you walk into you local restaurant for breakfast and that short, fat, stupid constantly drunk ******* Jersey shores, the one with the dyed black hair and ***** bigger than she is tall…is not…going to be your waitress, however happy or sad that may make you.

            However, you might walk into the same restaurant and be served by a confident, generally articulate, obviously in shape male or female waiter…who may be…a signed UFC fighter and you might ever recognize said fighter, because you recently saw them on a reality TV show about fighting called "TUF".

            …and so Jon stirs the pot. :-)

            He's a grinder.

          • Profile photo of Brian Cox

            Brian Cox

            June 12, 2013 at 3:39 am

            That is such an outstanding point, 321.

            You've got these clowns, like buddy with the constant tan and six-pack he's always showing off (I don't know his name and I refuse to learn), whose as dumb as a stump and thinks he's some kind of fighter from what I gather and on "juice" I'm sure…and he's a freaking millionaire for doing it.

            When you compare the two houses, the money being made and more importantly whose really "creating" the wealth that is being carved up, it really is off the charts wacko.

            As you might say, you walk into your local restaurant for breakfast and that short, fat, stupid constantly drunk ******* Jersey shores, the one with the dyed black hair and ***** bigger than she is tall…is not…going to be your waitress, however happy or sad that may make you.

            However, you might walk into the same restaurant and be served by a confident, generally articulate, obviously in shape male or female waiter…who may be…a signed UFC fighter and you might ever recognize said fighter, because you recently saw them on a reality TV show about fighting called "TUF". That …321, would probably not make you happy, but rather sad. For it would be sad.

            By the way, the waiter recommends the house special. It’s called the Dana White “zesty” Pasta. It’s just “Kraft” macaroni from a box that we spice up with “Frank’s Red Hot”, because, of course, we put that **** on everything and we call it the Dana White “zesty” Past, because it’s not that bad and it’s cheap. ?

            P.A announcement plays in background….Everybody to the field for this seasons TUF challenge between coach Nelson and coach Hunt, to see who can power-walk around the track the fast 10 times and for ten thousand dollars.
            Go!

            …and so Jon stirs the pot. :-)

            He's a grinder.

  4. Profile photo of therumblemma

    therumblemma

    June 11, 2013 at 10:00 pm

    Complete utter B.S. A total of 8 years of Grinding, 5:00AM alarms, getting badly injured,18 fights!, all while risking you're life while the family Witnesses your determination…Just to get potatoes. Fu(k you UFC for pulling that S#!T. Give these heroes what they deserve. There's more than enough wealth to go around.

  5. Profile photo of watermelon fresh

    watermelon fresh

    June 11, 2013 at 10:21 pm

    It's alarming that top ranked fighters are making so little. The NFL and NBA and most leagues have close to a 50 percent revenue share. This is not really surprising given that the fertettas own the UFC. They are big corporate guys and are accustomed to running an organization very management friendly and not like a sports org. It's egg on UFC's face that a top ranked fighter is making so little.

    • Profile photo of Brian Cox

      Brian Cox

      June 12, 2013 at 2:01 am

      Unfortunately for the brothers the UFC is not staffed by cooks, bellhops, bartenders and, waitresses and maids.

      Talent needs to be paid and rewarded.

      That said, I think the players in the big 4 are grossly over paid and pampered.

    • Profile photo of Brian Cox

      Brian Cox

      June 12, 2013 at 2:09 am

      I agree. It is egg on the Fertitta's faces and Fitch is the chef serving it via YouTube.

      Unfortunately for the brothers they will need to realize that UFC is not staffed by cooks, bellhops, bartenders, waitresses and maids. The "talent" needs to be paid and rewarded.

      Comparatively speaking, I wonder how much PPV business the brothers would do broadcasting their chamber maids cleaning hotel rooms?

      That said, I think the players in the big 4 are grossly over- paid and pampered.

  6. Profile photo of SatelliteMan

    SatelliteMan

    June 11, 2013 at 11:13 pm

    One word. Monopoly. They can pay their fighters $hit cause no one can offer them anything better.

    • Profile photo of Brian Cox

      Brian Cox

      June 12, 2013 at 12:47 am

      But every major sport is a monopoly. The question becomes why is this monopoly's athletes and with few exceptions, paid so poorly relative to other professional sports?

      It's like that game…of these 5 things, which one is different? The UFC.

      Why? There's no player's union. I'm afraid that's what it's going to come down to and eventually it will happen. So kind of collective bargaining agreement is going to have negotiated.

      If I were DW and the brothers, I'd approach the fighters before the fighters approach themselves.

  7. Profile photo of Evan Holober

    Evan Holober

    June 12, 2013 at 10:02 am

    Great read, and good to see somebody else around here doing some thinking on the small percentage even some of the best fighters actually get.

    Just a small point: He said that the 176k he made per year in the video was before gym/manager fees. However, that would go out to about 1.4 mill and 20% off of that would be around 240k (which would leave him with somewhere around 1.15 mill). So yea, his breakdown was a bit confusing if you actually dive into the numbers.

    • Profile photo of Brian Cox

      Brian Cox

      June 12, 2013 at 11:32 am

      I agree. I think he could have done a better job of breaking it down. You can tell he just sat down with a camera and spoke his mind, which is great, but what he should have done is sat down, worked it all out in detail and then done the video.

      That's part of the reason I didn't really get into the numbers that he was talking about in terms of UFC PPV money. It was all a little to vague or murky.

  8. Profile photo of TheRealDeal

    TheRealDeal

    June 12, 2013 at 11:39 am

    Boo frickety hoo Fitch. Cry me a river. I know tons of talentless pricks making way more than the talented ones…… it's the way the world works nowadays.

  9. Profile photo of Kevin

    Kevin

    June 12, 2013 at 3:10 pm

    The fact of the matter is fighting has a shelf life. A guy in the trades can live in Canada and make 150,000 a year doing next to **** all, other then collecting a paycheck.

    I for one was shocked to hear how little Fitch made in his career with the UFC. This is where guys like Tito are beneficial to the sport. Tito is an outspoken ****; however, he does have a valid leg to stand on when it comes to financial issues regarding the UFC.

    If your not a reigning Champ, chances are you'll be finding another occupation after your time is up. Its a shame really when you compare it to other sports.

  10. Profile photo of eatandtrain

    eatandtrain

    June 12, 2013 at 5:32 pm

    I'm guessing that doesn't include his endorsements. Does anybody know how much they make from them?

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