Chatri Sityodtong is the founder, chairman, and CEO of ONE Championship, which, since its birth in 2011, has gone on to become the largest and most popular MMA promotion in Asia.
However, despite its steady progress, ONE Championship seems to pale when compared with the global behemoth that is the UFC. Still, the question remains:
Which promotion pays better salaries to its fighters?
Official earnings for MMA fighters are rarely disclosed. This is the case with ONE Championship fighters.
Even though the actual structure of payments is unknown, ONE pays its fighters through a similar logic to any other promotion, that is, through performance-based incentives.
These bonuses are given out to fighters who win their fights in exciting ways, be it by submission, TKO, and so on.
Back in 2018, former UFC fighter, Ben Askren, (accidentally) revealed that he received $50,000 per fight, with a possible win-bonus of the same amount.
Demetrious Johnson and Eddie Alvarez, the two most recognizable faces in ONE’s roster, given their former UFC-champion status, are both under 8-figure contract deals, with reported earnings of $600,000 and $750,000 per fight respectively.
This would make Johnson the richest fighter in ONE Championship’s payroll.
Compare this to the whopping $50,000,000 Connor McGregor took home after fighting (and winning) against ‘Cowboy’ Cerrone in 2020 and fighting (and losing) against Dustin Poirier back in January 2021 and the question we asked initially basically answers itself.
This comparison might be unfair or misleading, though, since ‘The Notorious’ is more of an outlier than anything else.
Let’s take another example:
At UFC 259, during one of the most anticipated bouts of his career, Israel Adesanya went up a weight class to face former light heavyweight champion Jan Blachowicz.
For that fight, ‘Stylebender’ received a confirmed $640,000 (including sponsors).
Additionally, female fighters under ONE Championship may be surpassing their UFC counterparts in earnings.
Chatri Sityodtong revealed in 2016 that Angela Lee was making more than Joanna Jedrzejczyk and ‘Cyborg’ Justino.
ONE Championship’s CEO statements seem to add up to the data we have. Contrary to popular belief, it seems that the UFC may not be the most lucrative promotion for MMA fighters after all.