Salary Analysis: Jon Fitch Underpaid?
Joh Fitch just came out on the record to say how much he got paid, attempting to counter the arguments of Dana White saying that Jon is expensive.
Fitch did the math and claims he made $176,000 a year. 176k probably seems like good money to regular dudes like you and me and at the same time seems likes peanuts to sports stars from other popular sports. The notion of being overpaid/underpaid is relative. *Football, Basketball, Hockey and BaseBall pay out around 50% of their total revenue in salary to the players. Major league soccer pays about 25% and the **MMA ~17%.
What he said about being in the mid to upper echelon of UFC pay jives with what I see from the salary data I got directly from the Nevada athletic commission. His thoughts about PPV data were interesting and more or less in-line with what I estimated. However, his comments open up more questions. Did he ever get cuts of the PPV? Where exactly did he get his PPV numbers from? His paystubs? Friends? Magic? Kinda fun to think about.
Moving on to bonus money, as someone mentioned in the comment section to my previous MMA salary analysis post, fighters do get paid undisclosed bonuses. How much? At least for Jon, he made 300k in bonuses, 2 for fight of the night performances. The two FOTN bonuses were 70k and 60k, leaving 170 grand in undisclosed bonuses over 16 fights. We don’t know the distribution of the bonuses, but that’s an average of $11,000 in bonus money per fight … which is pretty mild. From an overall perspective, this money added about 30% to winnings.
Again, from my data (nearly 3k salaries from 2001-12) fighters across the board averaged about $23,500 a fight (to-show and to-win payments) and if we use the Jon Fitch undisclosed bonus factor of 30%, a statistically average fighter makes $91,212 a year (with 3x fights a year) from their employer. There are a lot of non-trivial assumptions at play here, but I think its fun speculation.
In any case, I’d love to hear from you. Do you have any juicy bits of insider knowledge about the PPV revenues of the UFC or fighter pay? Or do you think Jon Fitch is overpaid? Or did you just find out about an amazing male enhancement supplement you just can’t try to sell us?
Let me know in the comments below.
*See: Monks, James, Twomey, John (2011). Monopsony and salary suppression: The case of major league soccer in the United States.
** From my amateur research. I’m not a professional economist and my numbers could be flawed, but I feel they are pretty close. Even so, 17% is really low.
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