Dana White says ‘don’t believe the bullsh*t’ on fighter pay: ‘Most UFC fighters make more than boxers’

·3 min read

Whether or not UFC fighters are underpaid continues to be a hot topic, but promotion president Dana White insists that his athletes are compensated well.

When asked whether UFC fighters could one day make more money than boxers, White said the promotion’s top stars already earn more than those competing in boxing title fights.

“Yeah, definitely,” White told Yahoo Sports!. “Listen, when you talk about the elite – I’m putting on 44 fights in a year, right? And people are buying these pay-per-views, you know, 13 or 14 a year, watching all the other ones building, whatever. Then you look at what most of these guys make. Most UFC fighters make more than boxers. OK?

“Most UFC fighters make more than boxers, especially at a lower level. Then, the guys, you know, the Khabibs, the Conors, the Rondas, you know, even the Jon Joneses, these guys make more than most of these (boxers) that are fighting for big title fights. Don’t believe the bullsh*t. Don’t believe all the stuff you hear. These guys make a lot of money.”

For years, UFC fighter purses largely were disclosed by athletic commissions, but that changed in 2020. Beginning with UFC 261 in April, the UFC deemed its purses “a trade secret,” which therefore exempts fighter salaries from the public record in Florida and other states. Three months later, the Nevada Athletic Commission – which regulates the most UFC events in a given year – announced a move to make fighter purses confidential.


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One of the UFC’s biggest stars and a name White mentioned is former light heavyweight champion Jon Jones, who recently was engaged in a highly publicized contract dispute with the UFC. At the time, White scoffed at the idea that Jones wanted “Deontay Wilder money” to fight Francis Ngannou, referencing the reported $25-30 million that Wilder made for his rematch with Tyson Fury.

Although the UFC’s popularity has skyrocketed through the years, fighters continue to express a growing interest in boxing. Welterweight champion Kamaru Usman has been calling out Canelo Alvarez, while heavyweight champion Francis Ngannou has mentioned Tyson Fury’s name on numerous occasions. Then there are the various fighters under UFC contract who want to get their hands on YouTube star-turned pro boxer Jake Paul, who’s been a vocal advocate for UFC fighter pay.

According to White, 2021 is the promotion’s highest-selling year in terms of pay-per-views, which included two cards highlighted by the sport’s biggest star, Conor McGregor. The UFC will close out the year with one of its most stacked cards on Saturday, headlined by a lightweight title fight between Charles Oliveira and Dustin Poirier at UFC 269.

“We’re breaking tons of records this year,” White said. “Ever since we went back to fans coming, we’ve sold out every event. We’re gonna break the pay-per-view record this year – most PPV’s (sold) ever in a year and a lot more. We charged right through COVID, we figured out how to do it, we did it, and I believe that the fanbase grew in 2020. Obviously our social media grew, and lots of other numbers showed that we did.”