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Record year! UFC made over $700 million in 2017 — while paying some fighters just $10k per fight

Is it time for guaranteed salaries?

Floyd Mayweather Jr. v Conor McGregor World Press Tour - Toronto Photo by Vaughn Ridley/Getty Images

Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) posted its most profitable year to date, following the combat sports action that fell under the UFC Holdings, LLC banner, thanks largely in part to the promotion’s cut of the Mayweather vs. McGregor boxing pay-per-view (PPV), which made a lot of folks rich when all was said and done.

That’s according to a new report from Moody’s (via Bloody Elbow).

$100 per buy multiplied by 4.4 million is ... uh ... a lot! And that doesn’t include the overseas PPV buys that no doubt contributed to the already stuffed pocketbooks of both UFC and Mayweather Promotions.

On its own, UFC pulled just 4.142 million buys, down from pervious years; however, contracted revenue was up while overhead was significantly reduced. Simply put, without the Mayweather-McGregor boxing spectacle, last year would have been a financial disaster.

That’s because 2017 did not feature “Notorious” — a previous UFC record breaker — atop any UFC fight card. In addition, former PPV queen, Ronda Rousey retired from MMA and did not compete. As for Jon Jones, he made just one appearance opposite Daniel Cormier in July.

Of course, no conversation about revenue would be complete without the mention of fighter pay. In one of the last fight cards of the year, the promotion paid 14 fighters a measly $10,000 to show. Considering what a full training camp costs, then deduct taxes and fees, it’s not surprising to learn that so many athletes are looking to unionize.

Instead, they should look at the competition, where — according to UFC President Dana White — they can earn a lot more money.

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