ONE Championship Fighter Pay in 2023 (Fully Explored)

Are you wondering what ONE Championship fighter pay looks like in 2023 and prior?

In this article, we’ll explore ONE Championship fighter pay by going through the lowest and highest numbers revealed and rumored. We’ll also break down how ONE Championship fighters are paid.

ONE Championship Fighter Pay

ONE Championship fighter pay ranges on a large scale, with the lowest known payment being $1,300 to show plus $1,300 to win, and the highest known payment being $100,000 to show plus $100,000 to win, a $250,000 flat fee for title defenses, and a $10,000 monthly salary included.

First of all, ONE Championship fighter pay is undisclosed and therefore unknown because athletes aren’t allowed to speak publicly about their contract without permission from ONE.

This is written in ONE Championship fighter contracts and means knowing ONE Championship fighter pay relies on the few ONE fighter contracts that have become public by fighters/managers going against the contract or as a result of lawsuits.

Nevertheless, working with the figures, let’s look at ONE Championship fighter pay starting with the lowest.

Lowest ONE Championship Fighter Pay

Anelya Toktogonova

$1,300 to show plus $1,300 to win her ONE MMA debut against Aleksandra Savicheva on May 31, 2023, at ​​One Friday Fights 11.

ONE Friday Fights started in January 2023 and are hosted at the Lumpinee Boxing Stadium in Bangkok, Thailand.

Most of the fights on Friday Fights feature up-and-coming fighters vying for a ONE Championship contract – similar to the UFC’s Dana White’s Contender Series.

Regardless, $1,300 to show plus $1,300 to win is very low fighter pay from the supposed second-largest MMA promotion.

Sardor Babayanov

$1,500 to show plus $1,500 to win his ONE MMA debut in October 2023.

The contract was revealed by Atakulov MMA Bearsclub, likely Sardor’s gym or management team.

It’s unclear whether the contract was signed as there’s no sign of Sardor Babayanov fighting in October 2023 for ONE Championship.

Highest ONE Championship Fighter Pay

Ben Askren

In an interview with Sports Illustrated in 2018, Ben Askren accidentally let slip he was paid $50,000 to win and $50,000 to show.

He didn’t fight in 2018, so he was likely paid these figures for each of the 3 ONE Championship fights he had in 2017.

Demetrious Johnson and Eddie Alvarez

While numbers were never revealed by the fighters, It’s rumored that Demetrious Johnson is paid a flat fee of $750,000 per fight and Eddie Alvarez is paid a flat fee of $600,000.

These are likely ONE’s highest-paid stars which means its top earners are earning far below the UFC’s top earners like Conor McGregor or Israel Adesanya.

Adriano Moraes

For his first title fight against Demetrious Johnson, Adriano Moraes was paid $50,000 to show and an extra $50,000 to win (which he did).

Moraes was also paid an extra $250,000 bonus after the knockout win, as per the ONE Championship Champion clause written into their contracts: ‘Athletes are guaranteed $250k for title defenses.’

Information about Adriano Moraes’ ONE Championship pay was released due to a legal dispute between Moraes and his management team.

The lawsuit also revealed how Adriano Moraes signed a new 2-year four-fight deal on July 8, 2021, just after the first Demetrious Johnson fight on April 7, 2021.

The new deal had him earning $100,000 to show plus $100,000 to win as a non-champion, a flat fee of $250,000 as a champion, and a monthly salary of $10,000 over a period of 2 years.

With these numbers, we can calculate Adriano Moraes’ fighter pay since then. 

He’s fought 3 times, beating Yuya Wakamatsu and losing twice to Demetrious Johnson.

So, that’s $200,000, $100,000, and $100,000 for a total of $400,000 (show and win money).

He hasn’t earned any $50,000 performance bonuses, but he has earned a monthly salary of $10,000.

So, Adriano Moraes earned a total of $640,000 over his 2-year contract from July 2021 to July 2023.

Note: It’s unclear whether all ONE Championship champions are guaranteed the $250,000 as per their contract.

How ONE Championship Fighters Are Paid

There are a few different ways ONE Championship fighters are paid (directly and indirectly):

  1. Fight Payment – to show and to win.
  2. Performance Bonus – $50,000 paid at the discretion of Chatri Sityodtong (ONE CEO).
  3. Outside Sponsors – pay negotiated between fighter and sponsor.
  4. Contract Extras – free flights, accommodation, and food during fight week.

Let’s take a look at each of these more closely (fight payment is above).

ONE Championship Performance Bonus

First introduced in 2022, ONE Championship’s only bonus is a ‘Performance Bonus’ paying $50,000 to fighters selected by Chatri Sityodtong.

Fighters generally receive a Performance Bonus for a superb knockout or submission victory, or if they put on a highly entertaining fight.

There isn’t a cap on the number of Performance Bonuses awarded at each ONE event, with the highest being 7 awarded at ONE X on March 26, 2022.

In rare cases, fighters are awarded $100,000 for spectacular knockouts, submissions, or performances.

For example, Rodtang Jitmuangnon was given $100,000 at ONE Fight Night 10: Johnson Vs. Moraes III on May 5, 2023, for his elbow knockout against Edgar Tabares in the second round.

Outside Sponsors

ONE Championship fighters can increase their pay by advertising sponsors on their fight shorts and on the clothing (such as a t-shirt) they wear during their fight entrance.

Obviously, the amount a fighter earns depends on the negotiation with each sponsor, with the more well-known fighters earning much more due to having a larger audience.

There’s also nothing stopping ONE Championship fighters from working with sponsors outside of ONE Championship events.

Outside sponsors can be considered an indirect payment of ONE Championship fighter pay as ONE Championship also allows its fighters to have ring sponsors, unlike the UFC which makes its fighters wear sponsored Venum clothing every time they fight.

It’s also because most ONE fighters are earning these sponsorship opportunities because of the huge platform ONE Championship provides.

Unfortunately, there haven’t been any ONE fighters disclosing any sponsorship payments.

However, in 2017, Ryan Bader said he lost between $20,000 to $65,000 per fight when the UFC partnered with Reebok (2015) and stopped fighters from earning by advertising sponsors during their ring walk and while fighting.

From this, we can guess the average ONE Championship fighter is making a few thousand USD in sponsorship deals each time they fight, with the bigger stars earning $10,000 or more.

Small Extras

As seen in some of the revealed fighter contracts, ONE Championship fighters are also paid indirectly in the following ways:

  • Athletes receive economy tickets for themselves and one cornerman.
  • Athletes receive one twin-sharing room as their accommodation.
  • Athletes receive $40 per day per person for fight week meals OR three meals a day provided by the organizer.

Although it’s negligible, it’s worth mentioning as an indirect payment. It could be helpful to ONE debutants and lower-paid fighters.

What Fighters Say About ONE Championship Fighter Pay

Over the years, ONE Championship has been touted as the promotion to rival the UFC in terms of fighter pay.

However, looking at the numbers above, at all levels (low, average, and high) it’s clear the UFC pays its fighters way more than ONE Championship.

Nevertheless, some fighters who’ve been offered contracts by the UFC and ONE Championship have much preferred ONE’s offer.

When talking about the two contract offers he received, former ONE heavyweight champion Arjan Bhullar said, “If it was in the neighborhood, a comparative offer, I would’ve stayed with the UFC.

But as ONE had plans for me, and it wasn’t even in the same neighborhood, the two offers financially, the UFC doesn’t win in any regard (the offer or money).”

When asked by Joe Rogan about the UFC vs ONE Championship fighter pay, Demetrious Johnson said, “Everybody’s contract’s different. I’m happy. I’m very happy with what I’m getting, but everybody’s totally different.”

Overall, it’s certainly possible some fighters earn more in ONE Championship than they do in the UFC, but those cases are few and far between.

The Bottom Line

So, what does ONE Championship fighter pay look like?

ONE Championship fighter pay ranges enormously, just as in every MMA promotion like the UFC, Bellator, and the PFL.

The lowest revealed ONE Championship fighter pay is $1,300 to win and $1,300 to show.

The highest ONE Championship fighter pay is believed to be the $750,000 flat fee earned by Demetrious Johnson – by far the promotion’s best and most well-known star.

The highest ONE Championship fighter pay revealed is Adriano Moraes’ contracted $100,000 to show plus $100,00 to win as a non-champion, $250,000 flat fee as a champion, and a monthly salary of $10,000 over a period of 2 years (totaling $240,000).

As more ONE Championship fighter pay is revealed in the coming years, this article will be updated to reflect the numbers.

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