The incredible success of the UFC has caused a revolution in the combat sports industry. Dana White is exploring horizons never seen before by any fighting discipline. The business model developed by the American entrepreneur has encountered success in both athletes and millions of fans that tune to ‘pay-per-view’ events to watch the UFC events.
The booming business of UFC is also benefitting many industries related to the sports industry. Fans from all over the world can enjoy platforms fully dedicated to the best UFC and MMA betting sites. Coupled with the best odds and betting tips, UFC betting has become the perfect addition to fight nights for many passionate fans. And thanks to the sites being completely adapted to mobile devices, bettors can wager on combats from the comfort of their sofas.
And after the challenging year of 2020, the UFC business in 2021 seems to have been the best year ever for the organization. With the return of fans to arenas, Dana White has managed to capitalize on the expansion to new markets and the acquisition of an even larger fanbase.
Bonanza is also benefitting fighters who can land more commercial agreements and increase their value as a brand at levels never seen before. There’s no better proof than to see the list of the highest-paid athletes of 2021 to witness the growth of UFC.
In 2021 Conor McGregor alone had total earnings reaching 180 million dollars, making him the top-earning sportsman of the year. He’s managed to go over athletes such as Lionel Messi, Cristiano Ronaldo, or Lebron James.
The breakdown of McGregor’s earnings is the following: 22 million dollars for “on-the-field” profits, meaning monetary prizes accorded by his contract with the UFC, and 158 million dollars for “off-the-field” earnings, meaning commercial contracts and sponsorships.
Inside the octagon, McGregor’s earnings were the result of 2 UFC events against Dustin Poirier, UFC 257 and UFC 264. Even if the two combats accounted for defeats (the first by KO and the second by TKO due to an injury), the fact that Conor McGregor was returning to the octagon for the first time since 2016 meant that he would capitalize on big money from Dana White.
By comparison, Dustin Poirier bagged 5.1 million dollars for the UFC 264 event making him the second UFC fighter on the list to earn the most inside the octagon in 2021. Another top-grossing UFC fighter was Kamaru Usman. He successfully defended his title for the fifth time in a row in a historic bout against Colby Covington in a packed Madison Square Garden. The money he earned for the fight alone rose to 1.8 million dollars.
Next on the list is Israel Adesanya, UFC’s Middleweight Champion, who fought the light heavyweight Champion Jan Blachowicz in UFC 259. Adesanya lost to a unanimous decision but still managed to leave the octagon with a bag of 1.7 million dollars.
And if athletes are increasing their revenues, it’s because the host of the party is making big money out of business. The UFC was close to the billion dollars in revenues in 2021. Dana White can thank the sponsorship deals agreed with companies such as Crypto.com, Draft Kings, or Modelo.
In particular, the deal signed with the cryptocurrency company brought 175 million dollars over ten years.
The next source of income for UFC is the lucrative ‘pay-per-view’ (PPV) business. In the USA, UFC events are sold individually on TV in between a range of 69.99 and 100 dollars. UFC 263 between Israel Adesanya and Nate Diaz, for example, sold up to 600.000 PPVs, and this is only one of the few events that sold more than 600k PPVs.
Ticketing income has also been a great source of income this year for the UFC, as many reports signal earnings of more than 10 million dollars in up to two UFC events in 2021. The McGregor vs. Poirier trilogy reported ticketing sales of more than 15 million dollars.
It’s expected that 2022 will be even better for the organization presided by Dana White. Much-anticipated fights involving the legendary Jon Jones and Conor McGregor are also scheduled for another comeback this year. So much money can’t be neglected, not even for the highest-earning athlete of 2021.