UFC co-owner Lorenzo Fertitta says that 2015 was the most profitable year in the history of the company and that’s resulting in more top fighters reaching seven-figures per fight as a result.
Fertitta revealed in an interview with CNN recently that when 2015 comes to an end, the UFC will have generated more money than any year since they bought the company in 2001.
"Because we are a private company we don’t get into profitability but we’ll generate about $600 million in revenue in the year 2015, which is a record for the company," Fertitta revealed. "It’s fairly significant growth coming off of 2014.
A big part of the UFC’s success in 2015 comes from a number of record setting pay-per-views, which is still the promotion’s largest source of revenue according to Ferttita. The year kicked off with UFC 182 in January when Jon Jones defeated Daniel Cormier in one of the most highly anticipated light heavyweight title fights in recent history.
Add to that, Ronda Rousey led two of her fights — against Bethe Correia and Holly Holm — to huge numbers on pay-per-view while Conor McGregor did the same with his performances at UFC 189 and UFC 194, the latter of which may end up being the highest grossing show of all time once the final numbers are tallied.
Of course with record-setting revenue comes the question about how much the fighters in the UFC are being paid and what portion of that $600 million they will receive.
Fertitta didn’t expand on the percentage of money that is paid back to the fighters after the UFC recoups cost from production and other funds used to put on the shows, but he did say that several fighters are being paid very well — especially those that draw the largest crowds in attendance and on pay-per-view.
"The fact of the matter is our top athletes are making multi-millions of dollars and what is happening as the sport grows and the compensation goes up along as revenue goes up, you’re starting to see that the guys and girls at the top are commanding a larger share of that pie," Fertitta said.
Fertitta doesn’t believe the UFC’s model for payouts are any different than any other sport where the top athletes who drive the product and the fans tuning into watch them perform get the largest salaries.
"I think you see that in just about every sport, in every business," Fertitta said. "It’s the athletes that make a difference that people want to pay for, they’re commanding the big dollars."