UFC is enjoying one of the greatest revivals fueled by a long list of top performers. From Khabib Nurmagomedov, Jon Jones, Alexander Volkanovski, Conor McGregor to Max Holloway, there’s no dearth of talent in the mixed martial arts championship.
But while this is about athleticism, UFC doesn’t hide the fact that it has money on its mind. With this revival comes more money for UFC, bigger prize wins. The renaissance of mixed martial arts (MMA) has seen UFC grow into a $7 billion industry according to Dana White.
Sportsbooks now have a wider range of MMA events and it gets better; did you know you can cashout your bets early with certain bookies? If you feel like the fight isn’t going your way, the cashout option allows you to cut your losses.
From the massive fight promotions, sports stars from other disciplines to viewership-attracting fight matchups, money is always at the center of most fights that happen in UFC. Some of these fights stand out for the record-breaking fight purse. Here’s a look at some UFC cash prizes that stand out.
Conor McGregor vs. Floyd Mayweather
When it comes to breaking records in UFC, Conor McGregor’s name always finds its way to the list. He has been at the heart of MMA growth and his influence is hard to ignore. The biggest star in MMA met the biggest boxing star of all time in a one-off fight that broke all cash prize records.
The UFC backed Conor’s tours to promote the fight. The Nevada State Athletic Commission said Mayweather would earn $100 million with McGregor taking home $30 million. At the end of the day, the fighters won more than two-and-a-half times their guarantees, with McGregor taking home roughly $85 million.
CM Punk vs. Mickey Gall
With his fallout with WWE, Punk agreed to a fight with upstart UFC fighter Mickey Gall at UFC 203 in 2016. It was all about the money, and UFC saw the potential to make a lot of bucks. Having been a recreational jiu-jitsu practitioner for years, it was possible for Punk to sign up to a UFC deal.
Mickey Gall obliterated the WWE star in 2min 14sec into the opening round, but that wasn’t the story. CM Punk made an incredible $500,000 salary for UFC debut loss vs Mickey Gall,
Brock Lesnar vs. Randy Couture
Randy Couture was a 45-year-old MMA legend when he agreed to a fight with Brock Lesnar, a WWE superstar Brock. Lesnar signed up, but it was his name and stature that gave him a shot at Couture for a title shot.
However, much like Couture, the WWE giant was too much, and he became the heavyweight championship. Away from the machinations behind the unusual matchup, it was all about the money; the fight sold over a million units on pay-per-view and much more at the gate.
The total payout for the fight was a record breaking $1,118,000 with Lesnar taking home $450,000 and Couture earning $250,000.
James Toney vs. Randy Couture
This was another big money fight that featured MMA legend Randy Couture back in 2010 against heavyweight boxing champion James Toney. While Couture took Tony out early in the first round with merciless punching, the heavyweight champion still had the last laugh with a $500,000 paycheck.
In contrast, Randy earned a flat rate of $250,000 for the win. The reason for Tony’s higher pay was of course the fact that his name helped push UFC 118 to over 500,000 buys on pay-per-view.
Georges St-Pierre vs. BJ Penn II
In the UFC 94, the main event saw Georges St-Pierre, the UFC Welterweight Champion up against B.J. Penn UFC Lightweight Champion and former UFC Welterweight Champion.
St-Pierre and Penn were big UFC stars, and this was the first “champion-versus-champion” bout in UFC history. While it made little sense for the two to fight, the money was too good to ignore.
The fight between St-Pierre and Penn was the most anticipated bout of 2009, and it was history in the making. There was some controversy during the fight but eventually, St-Pierre won, retaining his UFC Welterweight Championship. Without any bonuses, the reported payout was still huge with George St-Pierre earning $400,000 (with $200,000 win bonus) and B.J. Penn taking home $125,000.
As UFC continues to grow, more big prize fights have emerged. From the Conor McGregor vs Khabib, Ronda Rousey vs Amanda Nunes, Brock Lesnar vs Mark Hunt, to the Georges St-Pierre vs Michael Bisping fight, the UFC is always working to bring interesting and high prize fights for its fans.