Have you ever wondered how much Joe Rogan is paid by the UFC to commentate at one of their events, and how his salary compares to fighters and other commentators?
In this article, we’ll look at Joe Rogan’s UFC salary, how he got into the UFC, whether his salary is justified, and how it compares to his co-workers and other earnings.
How Much Does Joe Rogan Make From UFC?
Joe Rogan, like many other people in the UFC, is paid on a per-event basis, as opposed to an annual salary. Per event, Joe Rogan is paid around $50,000 to $55,000. This is paid via a $5,000 fee and a $45,000-$50,000 PPV bonus.
Since 2021, Joe Rogan has limited his UFC appearances to only PPV events, meaning he earns the PPV bonus every time he works. In 2021 he worked for the UFC 9 times, meaning his annual UFC salary was between $450,000 – $495,000.
Joe Rogan isn’t a UFC shareholder and doesn’t own any of the UFC, therefore his earnings are limited to the events he works for them. He has never had ownership in the company and is only affiliated with the UFC through his years of service.
When Endeavour purchased the UFC in 2016, it only offered shares to a select few, and Joe Rogan was not one of these. If Joe Rogan had a stake in the UFC, he wouldn’t be as great at his job, as he may lose focus by becoming concerned with company profits and his position as a shareholder.
When Did Joe Rogan Start UFC?
Joe Rogan has been with the UFC since 1997 (UFC 12) when he initially worked as a post-fight interviewer and later joined the color commentary team in 2002. He got the interviewer position by being involved in the martial arts world since his childhood and had recently started training in Bjj when he was offered the job through a connection at this Bjj gym.
He got the job as it was available and not many people knew about the UFC in 1997, as it was still a small promotion and only 4 years old. He also got the job because of his knowledge of MMA and fight experience in kickboxing and taekwondo tournaments.
He left the role as interviewer after 2 years because the pay wasn’t high enough and he was having to fund his travel to UFC events – overall he was losing money and he could earn more money with his comedy gigs.
Due to his 2 years with the UFC, when Zuffa purchased the UFC in 2001, Dana White convinced Joe to become a color commentator for them because of Joe’s extensive knowledge about all of the current MMA tournaments and fighters. He hasn’t looked back since and has become one of the best, if not the best UFC commentator ever.
Is Joe Rogan’s UFC Salary Justified?
How much the UFC pay Joe Rogan is justified for various reasons and can be broken down like this:
He loves the work and is very passionate:
Considering Joe Rogan netted $100 million in 2020 with his partnership with Spotify, it’s clear he’s not working UFC events for money. He earns more with each podcast episode he uploads.
He’s working the events because he loves the promotion and MMA and this translates into some of the best UFC commentary and octagon interviews – Joe has won MMA personality of the year four times.
Also, a UFC event lasts many hours and including travel takes up a day or two of his time, again showing how much he sacrifices to continue his UFC commentary.
When considering he’s making $100,000 or more per podcast episode, and the lucrative contract offers he’s turned down (WWE), it’s easy to see how he loves his work with the UFC and how his earnings are justified.
He’s a very knowledgable commentator:
Joe has trained as a martial artist for almost 40 years since he was a kid and is a black belt in karate, taekwondo, and Bjj. Not only this but he has fight experience in kickboxing and taekwondo.
He’s one of the best personalities to commentate because he knows how to explain what’s happening and knows how to get viewers hyped for a fight. Not only this, but he’s an extremely experienced speaker and commentator as he’s been in the field for over two decades.
His longevity and loyalty to the UFC:
Moreover, he’s been with the UFC since 1997 and is one of their longest-tenured workers. He even commentated on his first 15 events without cash payment, in exchange for exclusive tickets to the events for his friends. This loyalty is one of the reasons the UFC are as big as they are today and vice versa.
He brings in viewers because of his fame:
Another reason his salary’s justified is he’s easily one of the most famous people in the UFC, and with his fame, he has brought and still brings a lot of viewers and paying customers to the UFC; not only to watch the fighting but also because they love to hear Joe Rogan commentate.
The fame of his podcast, the Joe Rogan Experience, has especially brought many fans to the UFC because he has many episodes hosting some of the biggest names in MMA which promotes and brings attention to the UFC.
Also, in 2002 when Joe Rogan first started commentating for the UFC, he was working for one of the highest-rated shows on TV, Fear Factor (2001-2006). Again, this would’ve brought over viewers to the UFC.
When you review all of these factors and the fact the UFC brought in revenues of $1 billion in 2021 and continues to bring in higher revenues every year, he’s easily worth $50,000 per event as this is small change to the UFC.
Joe Rogan UFC Salary Comparison (How Much Does Joe Rogan Make Per Podcast?)
Comparisons to his outside earnings:
It’s reported he earns $40 million annually, which makes his $500,000 from his work with the UFC seem measly. A large chunk of this is made through his work as a podcast host and his 3-year Spotify contract worth $100 million ($33million per year), signed in 2020. This works out to between $75,000 – $100,000 per podcast episode.
During the time he worked UFC events without payment, he was also working as the host for Fear Factor (2001-2006), which netted him $100,000 per episode.
Comparisons to UFC ring girls, cutmen, and referees:
A UFC cutman makes an average of $135,000, and up to $240,000 and higher depending on the fighters they’re working with. This is because they’re either paid a flat fee, which might be $500-$1000 per fight, or they’re paid 2% of a fighter’s earnings which can increase their earnings substantially.
UFC ring girls make anywhere between $105,000 to $253,000 annually but make substantially more than this outside of the UFC due to their online influence.
Comparisons to UFC fighters:
It’s reported the average annual earnings of UFC fighters in 2021 were around $150,000, meaning the average earnings per fight is around $50,000 if you consider a fighter having an average of 3 UFC fighters per year. 3 Fights is normally what the UFC offers to new fighters as a contract before they’re released or offered another contract.
Higher-ranked fighters earn considerably more, and lower-tier fighters earn between $10,000 – $30,000 per fight, meaning Joe Rogan’s UFC salary is at least three times higher than the average fighter’s earnings.
Comparisons to other UFC commentators and ring announcers:
Despite being one of the highest-paid UFC commentators, Joe Rogan earns less than Bruce Buffer, who earns $50,000 per Fight Night event and $100,000 per PPV event.
Other UFC commentators make between $10,000 to $30,000 for non-PPV events and between $20,000 to $50,000 for PPV events, which include Jon Anik, Michael Bisping, and Daniel Cormier.
As Joe Rogan only works PPV events, he earns much less as an annual UFC salary than Jon Anik, Michael Bisping, and Daniel Cormier, who all commentate on many more events.
Joe Rogan UFC Salary – The Bottom Line
He has an estimated net worth of $120 million in 2022, and this is growing at a rapid pace – and while Joe’s UFC earnings are high, they’re not outrageous.
All things considered and for everything he’s given the UFC since 1997, he’s paid his dues and is definitely worth his payment of $50,000 per PPV event.