After the introduction of the BMF belt and the new UFC legacy belts in 2019, are you wondering how much a UFC belt is worth?
There’s a price of $330,000 often quoted as the worth for the old classic UFC championship belts which is completely false.
In this article, we’ll look at why this price is false, how much these belts are actually worth past and present, who makes the belts, the differences between all UFC belts, and more.
How Much Is a UFC Belt Worth?
Short answer: A UFC belt’s worth is subjective as they’re worth what someone is willing to pay for one, however, the highest price paid was $55,527 for Georges St-Pierre’s UFC 94 belt, bought through auction by the Canadian Museum of History in 2019.
To find out how much a UFC belt is worth, we first have to look at:
How Much Does a UFC Belt Cost To make?
To answer this, we’ll look at some facts and reasons why the belt isn’t worth $330,000 and why the cost is much lower.
Evidence of a $50,000 Maximum Cost
Firstly, when unveiling the BMF belt at a press conference on November 2nd, 2019, Dana White said the belt cost the UFC $50,000 and it was the most expensive belt they’ve ever made, which is more than enough proof to dismiss the $330,000 price often quoted.
He also said it was the fastest belt they’ve ever made, which is possibly one of the reasons the belt cost so much.
Evidence of the classic and legacy belts worth
Secondly, the new UFC legacy belt unveiled in early 2019 to kick off the UFC and ESPN deal is said to be three times more expensive than the classic UFC belts, as per the official UFC website.
So if the original quoted price of $330,00 is applied here, this belt is supposedly worth just shy of $1 million; which is completely untrue.
Working backward from the $50,000 maximum, the maximum price for the classic UFC championship belts costs roughly $16,000 at the top end, while the new Legacy UFC belts cost $48,000, triple the price.
Evidence of Costs Due to Materials Used
Thirdly, for classic belts, it’s often supposed they use ‘roughly 2 lbs of gold. Whether the belts use real gold is debated, but it’s highly likely they’re gold-plated rather than real gold because 2 lbs of real gold in 2022 is worth $44,160 (June 2022).
This is calculated by taking the price of $1840 per ounce of gold, multiplied by 12 ounces to make 1lb. The calculation looks like this: 1840 x 12 = 22,080 x 2 lbs = $44,160. So, if this were true, the legacy belts would cost at least $132,480, way above the $50,000 price for the BMF UFC belt.
This means the belts are gold plated on top of another metal such as silver, nickel, or copper. Although it’s hard to accurately say unless you’re the UFC accountant, when the cost of metals, leathers, and labor are all considered, the cost of the classic UFC belt is between $2,000 – $16,000.
Evidence of Costs Due to the Classic Belt System
Furthermore, in support of the lower prices is the fact that with the classic belt, fighters would receive an additional belt every time they won another title fight.
The infamous case here is when Demetrious Johnson was angered by only having 1 UFC belt, despite being about to fight in his 10th title defense against Wilson Reis.
Johnson said, “I’m getting pissed off about this. I saw that Daniel Cormier has three damn belts. Dana White, IMG, whoever writes the checks, can you give me eight damn belts please?”.
He won his fight against Reis, and shortly after received another 9 UFC belts, one belt for every title defense, taking his total to 10. If these belts were worth $330,000 each, then the UFC just sent Johson $2,970,000, just shy of 3 million dollars.
This would never happen, considering how Johnson’s UFC payout was notoriously low; he earned only $183,000 for his 5th title defense against Chris Cariaso. It’s much more likely the UFC sent him 9 belts worth an absolute maximum of $16,000 each, but most probably worth under $10,000 each.
Also, the classic UFC belt was used from 2001 to 2019, meaning the belt was created at a time when the UFC was having money problems; so it’s almost certain the belts were worth no more than $16,000 each.
Evidence of Costs Due to UFC Belts Sold
In 2008, former UFC heavyweight champion Ricco Rodriguez put his UFC belt for sale via auction on eBay, at a starting price of $29,999. He later removed the belt the day the auction was set to end, as it had received zero bids.
This suggests people didn’t feel the UFC belt was worth $30,000, despite being the first and only time a UFC belt was put up for sale, where you’d think it’d sell for a lot more than its cost price.
However, Georges St-Pierre’s UFC 94 belt was bought by the Canadian Museum of History in 2019 for a price of $55,527. St-Pierre was known for giving away all of his belts to those who had helped him during his career; where this one found its way to an auction.
This is the highest price a UFC belt has sold for, and there is very little information on other belts being sold. As this belt involves Georges St Pierre and BJ Penn, it’s likely this belt is one of the more valuable belts, and this sold for a sixth of the often quoted price of $330,000.
Also, the museum likely paid a higher price as the belt is part of Canada’s sporting success and therefore important to them, and as it’s a national institution, money was likely no obstacle.
Lastly, the original 1995 UFC 5 ‘Superfight’ belt was sold at auction for a price of $43,200. This belt was never awarded to either Ken Shamrock or Royce Gracie, as the fight was declared a draw after 36 minutes of fighting.
Whether this makes the belt worth more or less, is again subjective; but it’s a belt having huge significance in UFC history, and another belt sold for a much more realistic price.
Evidence of UFC Champions Being Unaware of the Belt’s Worth
There are many examples of UFC champions not even knowing how much their belts are worth, with Michael Bisping once saying, “Mine’s just been gathering dust back there, there’s another one in the other room just gathering dust, if I’d known they were worth $600,000 between them I might get them insured for one and then they get stolen … I’m joking. I might at least put them in some kind of case and keep the dust off of them.”
Not only this but Georges St-Pierre gave away all of the belts he won to people that helped him during his career.
If the belt was really worth $330,000 do you think fighters would be careless with them, not know their real value and give them away? No chance.
How Much Does a UFC Replica Belt Cost?
A legacy UFC replica belt costs $850 (June 2022) and can be bought directly from the UFC store, where it comes with a cloth carrying case and you get free shipping on orders over $75.
For EU and UK customers, a legacy UFC replica belt costs £650, which is actually cheaper at around $800.
The UFC replica belt is made with 24k silver and gold plating and is made of zinc alloy casts. The stones are synthetic acrylics, while the leather is fake and made of polyurethane (PU).
The UFC replica belt is 50 inches long, 11.5 inches wide, and weighs 8 lbs.
Who Makes the UFC Belts?
The original UFC belts were designed and made by Dave Millican belts, a well-known belt maker for the WWE, AEW, and NJPW.
The new UFC legacy belts were collaborated on between the UFC, designer Brad Flaherty, and manufacturers Jae El Manufacturing.
Brad Flaherty is a designer whose most famous work was designing the replica belt for the Washington Commanders. Jae El Manufacturing has very little information online about them, supposedly they’re a three-person team based in Virginia, who import from Hong Kong.
This doesn’t sound like the most star-studded trio that makes high-quality and pricey belts: a solo designer, a fight promotion, and an obscure manufacturing company; again dismissing the outrageous price of $330,000.
What Are the Differences Between the Classic Belts and UFC Legacy Belts?
Check out the new editions to the UFC Legacy Belt 👀 pic.twitter.com/2pSDoMpaiv— UFC (@ufc) January 18, 2019
The first difference is how the UFC legacy belt is worth triple the price of the classic belt, for unexplained reasons by the UFC.
The second difference is how all classic UFC belts were identical, in length, weight, size, and design; and while the legacy UFC belts share these similarities, they’re designed to be personalized for each champion.
For each champion, the belt will display their name, weight class, and nationality on the left-sided gold plate. There are two gold plates (left and right), and each plate has 8 white stones, for a total of 16.
Each successful title win replaces a white stone with a red stone on the left-side plate and only moves to the right once the left plate has 8 red stones.
Another difference is how much gold is used in the design of the belts; the classic belts appear to have more, but the legacy belts are much thicker and likely more expensive because of this.
The UFC legacy belts are made with polished gold according to the UFC website, so both belts are using a gold plating rather than real gold. They must be worth triple the price because of the stones used and how they’re personalized for each champion.
Also, the classic UFC belts were circular in shape, while the legacy belts are octagon shaped; which includes the plating on the strap.
Lastly, the new belts also feature 8 national flags which represent the home countries of the first 8 UFC winners.
When it comes to legacy belts being sold, belts with more red stones will have more value, but ultimately the price will depend on the name on the belt.
There is yet to be a legacy belt sold or put up for sale, which isn’t possible since each champion only has one belt for each division; likely why the UFC changed the belt system as it became cheaper for them by not handing out so many belts.
How Much Does a UFC Belt Weigh?
Another difference is in the weight of the belts, as the new legacy UFC belt weighs 10.45 lbs, while the classic UFC belts weighed only 5.5 lbs. The difference in weight comes from the thickness of metals used in the legacy belt, including the leather strap being thicker.
The BMF UFC belt also introduced in 2019 weighs the same as the new legacy belts, as they’re practically the same belt with a few variations.
What Is the BMF UFC Belt?
The BMF UFC belt was introduced in 2019 for the UFC’s 500th event, awarded to the winner of Jorge Masvidal vs Nate Diaz (UFC 244).
BMF stands for the “baddest motherf***er”, and the UFC created a belt specifically for this one-off event. Dana White stated the BMF belt cost the UFC $50,000 to make and that it was the most expensive belt they have.
Masvidal was victorious at UFC 244 via a doctor stoppage, and the event signified the first and only time the BMF belt would be contested, as clarified by Dana White. Therefore Masvidal will forever keep the belt despite losing other fights since he won it.
The BMF differs from the legacy belts, as it’s black and silver, and has stones of the same color. The two plates on the strap have the numbers 500 and 244 on them, representing UFC 244 and the UFC’s 500th event.
Do UFC Fighters Keep Their Belts?
With the old classic UFC belts, fighters would receive a new belt for every title win or every title defense, which is how many fighters have pictures with numerous belts at once.
With the new legacy belts, fighters only get one belt when they win a title, and subsequent title wins are signified with red stones replacing the white stones on the plates.
However, fighters who win titles in multiple divisions will have separate belts, one for each weight class division. As there are currently 12 different champions, no fighter has two legacy belts.
Under the legacy belt system, if a fighter loses a title fight or their status as an undisputed UFC champion for whatever reason, they’ll still keep their belt.
They keep their belt because each belt is specifically designed for each champion and former champion, and is only handed back to the UFC when it needs updating if they win another title fight.
So, how much is a UFC belt worth? UFC belts are worth whatever a buyer is willing to pay, as Georges St-Pierre’s classic UFC belt sold for $55,527, while another sold for $43,200, and Ricco Rodriguez’s belt didn’t receive any bids when auctioned for $29,999.
In terms of costs, the classic belts were the cheapest to make, between $2,000-16,000, while despite looking cheaper, the legacy UFC belts are said to be triple the price of the classic UFC belts, between $6,000-$48,000.
This makes sense as champions only keep one belt per weight class division, so they should be worth or cost triple the price of the classic belts.
Finally, the BMF belt is known to be the most costly for the UFC to make, at $50,000, and most likely worth the most because it’s a one-of-a-kind UFC belt, meaning there’s more demand for it.