How Does the UFC Make Money? (8 Ways Explained)

From near bankruptcy in 2001, 8 years after its founding, the Ultimate Fighting Championship has rapidly grown into a multi-billion-dollar enterprise.

This article breaks down how the UFC makes its money in 2024.

How Does the UFC Make Money?

The UFC makes money through PPV sales, media rights, sponsorships and advertising, merchandising, fighter licensing and endorsements, ticket sales, UFC Fight Pass, and UFC Fit and UFC Gym (franchises).

Let’s take a closer look at each.

1. Pay-Per-View (PPV) Sales

Pay-per-view (PPV) sales are a cornerstone of the UFC’s revenue model. Fans purchase access to watch live fights, with prices ranging from $25 to $75. 

The lower end of this price range is often available on UFC Fight Pass, the organization’s digital streaming service, while the higher end is for standard and high-definition broadcasts of marquee events.

The UFC’s PPV model generates significant revenue from fans and provides a revenue stream for fighters. Although the exact percentage of PPV revenue shared with fighters is undisclosed, details emerged from a class action lawsuit against the UFC and its parent company, Zuffa. 

According to the lawsuit, the UFC’s PPV system includes fighter cuts as follows:

  • $1 for every PPV sold between 200,000 and 400,000
  • $2 for every PPV sold between 400,000 and 600,000
  • $2.50 for every PPV sold above 600,000

These figures suggest that top fighters can earn substantial bonuses from PPV sales, especially for high-profile events that attract a large number of viewers.

This entices fighters to prepare and perform at their best, which will bring in more PPV buys and therefore money for the UFC.

2. Media Rights

Media rights are a significant revenue stream for the UFC, as the organization sells broadcasting rights to networks and streaming platforms around the world. 

These deals allow fans to watch UFC events on various channels and platforms, generating substantial income for the UFC.

One of the most notable media rights deals is with ESPN in the United States. In 2018, the UFC signed a five-year deal with ESPN worth $1.5 billion, which averages out to $300 million per year. 

This deal made ESPN the exclusive broadcaster of UFC events in the U.S., including both live fights and original programming.

Internationally, the UFC has also secured lucrative media rights deals. For example:

  • In the United Kingdom, the UFC has a partnership with BT Sport (extended in 2022), which broadcasts UFC events and content. The financials were undisclosed, but it’s likely to be $100 million plus.
  • In Brazil, the UFC had a long-standing relationship with Grupo Globo, one of the largest media conglomerates in Latin America. The deal was said be to worth low eight figures. Grobo was replaced in 2022 by UFC Fight Pass.
  • In China, Migu became the exclusive Chinese broadcaster for UFC events in February 2021. The financials are undisclosed, but in 2019 the UFC was looking for a 9-figure deal the next time Chinese UFC media rights were available in 2021; so it’s probable this is the minimum amount they earned from the deal.

These media rights deals vary in terms of duration and financial terms, but they collectively contribute significantly to the UFC’s global revenue. 

The exact figures for each deal are often undisclosed, but they’re estimated to be between 10 and 150 million USD each.

3. Sponsorships and Advertising

The UFC has established numerous lucrative sponsorships and advertising partnerships that contribute significantly to its revenue. 

These sponsorships are often advertised in and around the Octagon and throughout UFC event broadcasts.

Some notable deals include:

  • Became a prominent sponsor with initiatives like the Fan Bonus of the Night, which awards $60,000 in Bitcoin to fighters based on fan votes. Additionally, has a licensing agreement to sell UFC NFTs, where fighters receive 50% of the sale price if the NFT features them.
  • DraftKings: Signed a 5-year deal worth $350 million as the UFC’s first official sportsbook partner, integrating betting promotions into UFC events and content.
  • Love Hemp: Became the official global CBD partner of the UFC, using the organization’s global outreach to position itself as a trusted brand in the CBD market.
  • Modelo: Continues its partnership as the ‘UFC’s Official Beer’, with financials undisclosed but estimated to be significant based on previous deals.
  • Monster Energy: Extended its sponsorship as the ‘Official Energy Drink of UFC’, significantly boosting its visibility within the UFC audience.
  • Oscar Mayer: Entered a partnership focused on promoting protein snacks tailored to athletes and fitness enthusiasts within the UFC fanbase.
  • Became the UFC’s “Official Betting Partner” in Latin America and Asia, expanding the UFC’s presence in the cryptocurrency betting market.
  • TikTok: Engaged in a multi-year partnership to provide exclusive UFC livestream content, tapping into a younger audience and expanding the UFC’s online presence.
  • Venum: Replaced Reebok as the official UFC apparel sponsor, in a deal likely worth around $50 million over three years, emphasizing a focus on athlete compensation and UFC branding.

These sponsorships generate hundreds of millions of direct revenue and enhance the UFC’s global brand visibility and engagement with fans across different platforms and regions​.

4. Merchandising

The UFC’s merchandising efforts are a significant revenue stream, encompassing a wide range of branded products. 

These include apparel such as T-shirts, hoodies, and hats, as well as accessories, equipment, and memorabilia. The UFC also sells official fight gear, including gloves and training equipment, through its online store and retail partners.

While specific revenue figures for merchandising aren’t publicly disclosed, it’s estimated this segment contributes millions of dollars annually to the UFC’s bottom line. 

The organization’s global fan base and the popularity of its fighters help drive merchandise sales, making it a vital part of the UFC’s overall business strategy.

5. Fighter Licensing and Endorsements

The UFC earns revenue from licensing fighters’ likenesses for products such as video games and action figures. This provides a source of income for the organization and the fighters involved. 

For example, the UFC’s partnership with EA Sports for the UFC video game series has been a lucrative venture, with fighters receiving a share of the profits from sales. 

Additionally, fighters often secure individual endorsement deals with brands, further contributing to their income and the UFC’s visibility in the market.

6. Ticket Sales

Ticket sales are a crucial revenue stream for the UFC, with live events being a significant part of the organization’s appeal. 

Revenue from ticket sales can vary greatly depending on the location, venue size, and the popularity of the fighters involved. 

For example, UFC 229, featuring the highly anticipated match between Khabib Nurmagomedov and Conor McGregor, generated a live gate of $17.2 million

The average ticket price for UFC events can range from $50 for basic seats to several thousand dollars for premium, ringside seating.

While ticket sales are a huge money source for the UFC, even in 2024, the company still hosts many events at the UFC Apex, which has a maximum capacity of 1500, though they never attempt to fill it.

This shows how the UFC is flush with cash and very comfortable. Comfortable enough to favor convenience over ticket sales.

7. UFC Fight Pass

UFC Fight Pass is the organization’s digital streaming service, offering subscribers access to live events, original programming, and an extensive fight library. 

The service is priced at $9.99 per month or $95.99 per year, providing a steady revenue stream for the UFC. It’s by far the best product on the market in terms of combat sports content, with there being very little competition.

While the exact number of subscribers isn’t publicly disclosed, it’s estimated to be in the hundreds of thousands. This equates to several millions of dollars per year for the UFC.

UFC Fight Pass not only generates direct revenue from subscriptions but also serves as a platform for promoting upcoming events and engaging with fans globally.

8. Training Gyms: UFC Fit and UFC Gym

The UFC has expanded its brand into the fitness industry with the establishment of UFC Fit and UFC Gym. These facilities offer a range of fitness classes, personal training, and MMA training programs. 

The gyms cater to individuals of all fitness levels and ages, providing a unique workout experience inspired by the training regimens of UFC athletes.

The UFC primarily earns revenue from these gyms through licensing fees, as the gyms operate as franchises.

While the exact financial details aren’t publicly disclosed, the licensing fees add a small revenue stream for the UFC, given the growing number of UFC Gym and UFC Fit locations worldwide.

The expansion of UFC Fit and UFC Gym locations worldwide further strengthens the UFC’s brand presence and provides additional revenue streams.

To Conclude

In conclusion, the UFC’s revenue streams are diverse and multifaceted, encompassing PPV sales, media rights, sponsorships, merchandising, fighter licensing and endorsements, ticket sales, UFC Fight Pass, and training gyms like UFC Fit and UFC Gym. 

These revenue streams have collectively propelled the UFC into a multi-billion-dollar enterprise, with a global fan base and a strong brand presence. 

As the UFC continues to expand and innovate, its financial success is likely to grow even further.

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