why do boxers make more than mma fighters

why do boxers make more than mma fighters

why do boxers make more than mma fighters

Boxing and MMA (Mixed Martial Arts) are two popular combat sports that have gained immense popularity over the years. While both sports require skill, dedication, and training, boxers tend to make more money than MMA fighters. This article aims to explore the reasons behind this disparity from various perspectives.

1. Historical Significance

Boxing has a long and rich history, dating back centuries. It has been a part of the Olympic Games since ancient times and has been widely recognized as a professional sport for a long time. On the other hand, MMA is a relatively new sport, gaining popularity only in the past few decades. The historical significance and established reputation of boxing contribute to its higher earning potential.

2. Promotional Differences

Boxing has a more centralized and organized promotional structure compared to MMA. Promoters in boxing, such as Top Rank and Matchroom Boxing, have been able to secure lucrative television deals and sponsorships, which directly translates into higher pay for boxers. In contrast, MMA promotions, like the UFC, have a more dominant market share, limiting the bargaining power of fighters.

3. Pay-Per-View Revenue

Boxing has a long-standing tradition of pay-per-view (PPV) events, which generate significant revenue. High-profile boxing matches, such as Floyd Mayweather vs. Manny Pacquiao, have generated millions of dollars in PPV sales alone. MMA, although gaining popularity in PPV, still lags behind boxing in terms of generating substantial revenue from this source.

4. Sponsorship Opportunities

Boxers have traditionally enjoyed more sponsorship opportunities compared to MMA fighters. This can be attributed to the individualistic nature of boxing, where one fighter represents a brand. In contrast, MMA fighters often represent a promotion, limiting their personal sponsorship potential. Boxers can secure endorsements from various brands, further increasing their earnings.

5. Boxing’s Global Reach

Boxing has a wider global reach compared to MMA. It is a sport that has been practiced and followed in various corners of the world for generations. This global appeal attracts larger audiences and generates more revenue through ticket sales and international broadcasting rights, leading to higher payouts for boxers.

6. Boxing’s Cultural Impact

Boxing has had a significant cultural impact, especially in countries like the United States, Mexico, and the United Kingdom. Legendary boxers like Muhammad Ali, Mike Tyson, and Oscar De La Hoya have become household names, transcending the sport itself. This cultural impact has made boxing events highly anticipated and financially rewarding for the fighters involved.

7. Fighter Unionization

Boxing has seen various attempts at fighter unionization, aiming to secure better pay and working conditions. The formation of organizations like the World Boxing Association (WBA) and the World Boxing Council (WBC) has allowed boxers to collectively negotiate for higher earnings. In contrast, MMA fighters have struggled to form a unified front, making it challenging to demand higher pay.

8. Inequality in Revenue Distribution

There is a significant disparity in revenue distribution between boxing and MMA. In boxing, the top-tier fighters often receive a more significant share of the revenue, while in MMA, the promotion takes a larger chunk. This inequality results in higher earnings for the top boxers and lower earnings for the majority of MMA fighters.


The reasons why boxers make more money than MMA fighters are multifaceted. Factors such as historical significance, promotional differences, pay-per-view revenue, sponsorship opportunities, global reach, cultural impact, fighter unionization, and revenue distribution all contribute to this disparity. While MMA continues to gain popularity and evolve, it may take time for the earning potential of MMA fighters to match that of boxers.

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