Top 10 Highest Paid UFC Fighters of all Time.

Highest Paid UFC Fighters – CEOCOLUMN.COM

UFC fighters’ salaries have often caused controversy and confusion. Even though UFC has made earnings available to the public that is only accounted for the base salary and bonuses.

But the real number remaining hidden.

Those fighters who get a piece of the PPV and other undisclosed contract parts.

Also, UFC has been often criticized for not paying their fighters enough and that those who are not at the top can barely make ends meet.

But that’s a story for another article and in this one, we’re going to go over those fighters whose fists and feet are in the millions. Highest Paid UFC Fighters

#10 Daniel Cormier Highest Paid UFC Fighters

Daniel Cormier aka DC aka the owner of the best dad bot in the fighting game is standing at Number 10.

Now at the end of his career, he only has one fight left and that’s the trilogy fight against Stipe Miocic.

DC was supposed to retire last year when he turned 40, because he already accumulated enough wealth through fighting, commentary, and other various ventures.

But as he said himself, Dana White can be quite convincing when he wants to make a fight and DC couldn’t resist a couple more bags full of dollars from the UFC’s boss.

As of now, Cormier has made $5,726,000 from his UFC base salary and fight bonuses.

That’s the amount without PPV bonuses and other endorsements.

DC has competed in nine title fights in the UFC and seven of those fights were on pay-per-view with over 3.5 million buys overall.

So the real number on DC’s bank account is a lot bigger than those 5.76 million but as we said before, the UFC doesn’t have that information available for public consumption.

For Illustration, rumour has it the DC pocketed $4 million dollars total for his title fight with Derrick Lewis in November of 2018.

But if that’s true, he probably had double or triple of that on two occasions he fought against Jon Jones which was one of the most popular events in the history of the company, due to the hatred and rivalry Jones and Cormier had.

All-in-all Cormier is a very rich man and deservedly so.

#9 Donald Cerrone Highest Paid UFC Fighters

With just under 6 million in earnings, the man known as the cowboy sits at number 9 on the list of highest-paid UFC fighters.

Of course, this list is made before the upcoming cowboy versus McGregor fight, which is undoubtedly going to put Donald Cerrone higher on the list.

Just like with DC and everybody else we don’t know how much Cerrone is actually made.

We only know the base salary plus the fight bonuses and there have been plenty of those for cowboy as he’s holding a record from most post-fight bonuses Awards in UFC history with 18.

Unlike some of the other highest-paid fighters, Cerrone didn’t headline big PPV events, so this number of 5.93 million is closer to reality.

Even though he was always very good and holds numerous UFC records for most fights wins and knockdowns, Cerrone has never been a marquee name in the fight game.

He has appeared in only one title fight which he lost, but his consistency and attractive way of fighting has put him in the top 10 earners of all time.

#8 Mark Hunt Highest Paid UFC Fighters

Mark Hunt is one of the most beloved fighters in the MMA community.

Due to his honest approach towards the fans and opponents, and the main thing his heart out in the Octagon.

He is also one of the most tenured MMA fighters ever and his career dates back to the glory days of pride in the early 2000s.

His UFC career started in 2011, although that is quite a long time and he collected a handful of performance bonuses during the decade. He wasn’t earning that much money at first.

However that all changed in 2016 and UFC 200, where he fought the infamous Brock Lesnar, one of the most attractive fighters in the history of the promotion.

Lesnar has always been the money fight that’s why hunt earned $700,000 in base salary for fighting.

After that, he never fought for less ever again with each of his final five fights netting him over $750,000 dollars.

Overall, he’s officially made $6.3 million dollars in the UFC, his negotiating skills will say.

#7 Jon Jones Highest Paid UFC Fighters

Jon Jones is official UFC earnings total is $6.48 million dollars.

Wait what, one of the most dominant and famous fighters in the history of MMA has earned only 6&½  million in over twenty-five fights, get out of here.

Well yeah! it’s true.

While Donald Cerrone’s and Mark Hunt’s earnings are somewhat close to the official career earnings.

Jones is in a galaxy far-far away when it comes to pocketing cash from the UFC.

Due to the fact that he has become the youngest champion in the history of the UFC at the age of 23, and that he hasn’t been defeated in the Octagon.

All of his fights from 2011 onward have been title fights and because he’s been getting a cut in PPV buys since 2011 and he has had 13 PPV fights, he’s one of the biggest overall earners in the history of the UFC.

Jones’s fights have sold over 7 million PPVs and that’s why Jon usually accepts his deal at around $500,000 to show up and that’s the money that UFC will tell us about.

We can only imagine what the real number is but it’s certainly not peanuts.

#6 Georges St-Pierre [GSP]

Georges St-Pierre - Highest Paid UFC Fighters – CEOCOLUMN.COM
Highest Paid UFC Fighters – CEOCOLUMN.COM

Almost identical to Jon Jones, GSP was usually earning between 400 and 500 thousand fixed dollars per bout.

Like Jones, St. Pierre was also fighting and winning a lot of title fights.

And the two men share the record with the most wins in title fights at 13.

GSP has been a part of 14 PPV events, usually as the main attraction, which means he got the most dollars.

In his heyday, which lasted from 2005 to 2013, he was one of the most popular fighters in the UFC and reportedly he earned up to 5 million per fight.

Officially his earnings stand at just over seven million dollars.

And that’s largely for the fact he got 2.5 million to come out of retirement to fight Michael Bisping in 2017.

It has been rumoured that GSP will step in the Octagon once again this time against Khabib Nurmagomedov.

If that bout comes to fruition, Saint Pierre would be interested in it because of legacy, challenge, and love for fighting because he doesn’t really need money anymore.

#5 Michael Bisping

Mike Bisping doesn’t fall into the superstar category.

He’s more like Donald Cerrone but the fact that he was really good for a long time and fought often.

Unlike Cerrone, this Bisping did capture the UFC gold with a stunning victory over Luke Rockhold at UFC 199.

His career earnings are $7,135,000 dollars.

He was a part of four PPVs as the main event, most notably against Georges St. Pierre which sold 875,000 PPVs.

So it’s fair to guess that Bisping got a piece of that pie as a champion.

Even though GSP was the bigger draw, while he was often doubted as a fighter, but the aura of a loser at the most important moments.

This thing did get his shine at the twilight of his career and secured his future in the process.

He remains one of the best and funniest characters UFC has had in recent years, which serves him well in his current career as a commentator.

#4 Anderson Silva

Watching Anderson Silva fight in his prime was a thing of beauty.

His baiting and counter punching was second to none.

And he was the most dominant fighter that the middleweight division has ever seen.

At the beginning of his career, Silva was netting around 200 thousand dollars per fight which increased to 600K during his Championships years, up until the end of his career which is now.

Even though Silva is not officially retired and might give it another go in the Octagon, however, he doesn’t need the money.

Like fellow dominant forces Jones & GSP, Anderson was a PPV sensation.

He holds the UFC’s record for most PPV fights with 19.

Those events sold over nine point five million PPV’s overall.

So it’s only left to imagine how much he really made in the Octagon.

One thing is for sure Anderson Silva is a wealthy man.

And he’s earned much more than the official number of $8,112,000 dollars which puts him just outside the top three in official earnings.

#3 Khabib Nurmagomedov

Khabib Nurmagomedov is a household name in 2020 and is one of the best and most known fighters on the planet.

Since he’s from Russia which numbers over 150 million people, he’s always had a big following.

Joe Rogan once mentioned on his podcast that, whenever he posts something he it’s a ton of comments from Russian fans, saying Khabib time.

Insinuating that their prodigy should get a shot at the title.

When he finally got the shot at the title he seized it and won the belt against Al Laquinta at UFC 223.

That was his first bigger payday in the company as he earned 530K for the victory which was more than he made in his first nine fights combined.

Of course, what made Khabib jump some of the more seasoned fighters on this list is what happened after he became champion.

We’re talking about the rivalry with Conor McGregor.

And their fight on UFC 229, Khabib got paid two million for the fight officially and even though he got fined half a million for jumping the cage, it’s still one of the most significant fight earnings for a fighter ever.

As you can probably guess by now, that amount was only a portion of what could be actually earned.

Considering that UFC 229 was the best-selling PPV in the history of the sport with two million and four hundred thousand PPV buys.

PPV cost was fifty-five to sixty-five dollars, so the event sold more than one hundred and fifty million in PPV alone.

The fighters got a chunk of that with most going to McGregor but Khabib get his beak also.

And then his most recent fight in Abu Dhabi against Dustin Poirier, there Nurmagomedov got the highest official salary in the history of the UFC with six million dollars to show up.

In his last three fights, he earned over eight million dollars, and in the nine fights before that, he made half a million which adds to $8,680,000 in official earnings.

This is a prime example of how you need to get to the top or in the big bucks as a UFC fighter.

#2 Alistair Overeem

Another household name, the ever-popular Reem is at number two with over 9.5 million dollars in official earnings.

Once one of the biggest stars in the sport.

A Dutch fighter has fought in many memorable and high grossing events, most notably against Brock Lesnar in his UFC debut.

After Lesnar, he also faced former champions Frank Mir, Junior dos Santos, Fabricio Werdum, and many other notable names.

You name a UFC heavyweight, there’s a good chance that Overeem has fought it.

Why does he keep doing that? Well, it’s not for good health, that’s for sure.

Reem gets paid over $800,000 per fight nowadays.

That has been the case for the last ten fights of his.

Dating back to when he was fighting Andrei Arlovski in 2016, it may not be as good as he once was, when someone says horse meat.

But he’s still one of the most popular fighters UFC has on its roster and he’s banking on that fact.

Given that his fighting career dates back to 1999, his retirement could come soon enough but then again if you were making almost a million dollars to show up would you retire?

#1 Conor McGregor

The notorious, the most famous man in the history of sports and its biggest star in and out of the Octagon, is the highest earner in the UFC and deservedly so.

He accomplished so much in a relatively short amount of time which was unprecedented for a UFC fighter.

From being excited and shouting “Dana 60 G’s baby”, after winning a performance bonus in one of his earliest fights, he arose to the global megastar he is today.

His total official earnings say that he’s made just over 12 million in fight purses.

But of course, as we mentioned above that doesn’t count the PPV and he’s the absolute PPV record-breaker.

It’s been speculated that he earned around 50 million dollars for the Khabib fight alone and even though he’s been in only six PPV events in his relatively short career.

They were bought over 9 million times total, which is approximately worth half a billion dollars in profit for the company just on PPV s.

It’s no wonder why he got paid that much and he deserves every penny.

Well McGregor is done is unmatched and it actually helped other fighters to start earning more money as well, after they have seen what’s possible.

Conor will further increase his lead as the highest-paid fighter since he’s planning to fight three more times in 2020.

Starting with Donald Cerrone on January 18 should he be triumphant in his return, a rematch with Khabib might happen as well which will be another PPV stunner and will put more dollars into the Irishman’s already deep pockets.

Panini Business Model | How Panini Became a Billion-Dollar Brand by Selling Cards & Stickers.

Feature Image - Panini Business Model – CEOCOLUMN.COM

Every four years, fans around the globe go crazy for little sticky images of football players.  

Panini celebrates its resurrection at every Fifa World Cup.

Millions of surprise packs with the photos of the World Cup players are sold in book and magazine stores, at kiosks and petrol stations around the globe.

The Italian company does not give any figures, but here’s an example calculation.

Each pack with five pictures costs 90 cents. Each album fits around 700 stickers.

That results in minimum costs of already more than 120 euros for a completely filled Panini album.

In fact, the costs are likely to be much higher.

Because the more stickers you have, the more likely it is that you buy a double.  

In this article, we’ll look at how two Italian brothers UMBERTO & GIUSEPPE build a BUSINESS EMPIRE, the PANINI BUSINESS MODEL and why it’s so much fun to collect stickers of footballers and other athletes. 

History & Origin of PANINI – Panini Business Model

PANINI – the company is the foundation of two Italian brothers, the Panini brothers, Giuseppe Panini & Umberto Panini.

It all started in 1945 when the Paninis opened a newspaper stand in Modena.

But while many newspaper salesmen were only just barely making a living, the ambitious siblings founded and ran a magazine publishing business.

In 1960, the brothers bought a collection of stickers that a Milan based company was unable to sell.

The Panini brothers divided the stickers in packets of two and sold them for ten lire each.  

That move was a big success – they sold three million packets in the first year.  

So they quickly founded Panini in 1961 to manufacture and sell their own stickers.

Initially, the packages with the pictures were produced by hand and at home.  

A butter churn was used to mix the pictures.

In the 1970s, Umberto Panini invented an automatic packaging machine called FIFIMATIC, which ensures that there are no duplicates in a packet. We’ll get back to that later. 

The company became well known for its FOOTBALL COLLECTIONS, which soon became popular with children.

Some popular games were invented which used stickers as PLAYING CARDS.  

The Business of PANINI

Today, rare stickers can reach very high prices on the collectors’ market.

Panini has given this business unit the name “COLLECTIBLES”. It combines stickers, photo cards, trading cards, trading card games or 3D figures.

In this market segment, Panini can call itself THE GLOBAL MARKET LEADER. It’s their biggest revenue driver. 

Key to that success are IMAGE RIGHTS.

The business with football stickers is not so easy.  

In order to be allowed to print and distribute the pictures, the respective company has to secure a whole range of image rights.

These include the rights to the various logos of the CLUBS OR NATIONAL TEAMS, THE ORGANISERS, THE SPONSORS, the rights to the PLAYERS’ PHOTOS AND OF THE STADIUMS.

In relation to major events like the FIFA World Cup, those rights are always EXCLUSIVE, meaning that no other company is allowed to sell the pictures.

And Panini has been able to secure those rights for decades now, which gives them a huge competitive edge, for example against the US competitor TOPPS.

Topps even dragged Panini in front of the highest court of the European Union, because they couldn’t get a hold of licenses from the leagues and argued Panini has a monopoly.

But the court dismissed the case and ruled that Topps had never tried hard enough to obtain the rights anyway.

License Cost of FIFA & NFA – Panini Business Model

But how much does a Fifa or NBA license cost?  

How much does Panini have to pay so they can print and sell the images? 

Neither Panini nor Fifa are giving exact figures, but it is reported that they paid 1 MILLION US DOLLARS for the rights for the Fifa World Cups 2010 and 2014.

Since Fifa’s revenue from licensing almost doubled in 2018, it is likely that Panini also had to pay more in recent years.

Here’s a more accurate figure.

In 2016, Panini America paid Cristiano Ronaldo 170,000 dollars for signing 1,000 stickers.

They also made an exclusive deal with Kobe Bryant in 2009 as company spokesman and trading card ambassador. 

Kobe’s special affiliation to Panini goes back to his time growing up in Italy where he collected Italian football stickers.

If there’s no money involved, players sometimes actually disagree to have their pictures used for stickers.

In 2002, the Argentinian Batistuta refused and so he became a famous absentee of the 2002 World Cup album. But these cases are rare.

According to a Swiss newspaper, Andres INIESTA once even said that “a footballer doesn’t exist if he is not part of a Panini album”.

Other Revenue Streams of Panini – Panini Business Model

Besides selling stickers, Panini has several other revenue streams.


In Europe, Panini unites the top titles of all major US comic book publishers under one roof: The portfolio includes the superheroes of DC Comics, with “Superman”, “Batman” as well as the Marvel Comics heroes “Spider-Man”, “Avengers”, “Iron Man” and their colleagues.  

A unique constellation when you consider that these universes are basically in clashing competition with the world’s most famous heroes.

But back to the sticker business.

The Panini Collector’s Problem

Again and again there are rumours that certain players are printed more often than others.

That the collectible stickers are not printed as often in the packs or that there are too many doubles.

“You never get Ronaldo, but you get this other guy in every second pack”. Not true, they say at Panini.

“All collectable pictures are produced with the same frequency”, said a leading employee of Panini. 

The company claims that each of the 640 different stickers will be printed in the same run and will therefore reach the consumer with the same probability.

A German magazine created a database of over 8.33 million entries.

In his analysis, statistician Christian Hesse came to the conclusion: “The serious differences cannot be explained by the effects of chance alone.”

It has been statistically and mathematically proven that the stickers are not distributed randomly among the packages.

This is due to the special production process with the Fifimatic packaging machine, which does not mix randomly. 

However, this does not constitute a fraud, but rather an advantage for the collector, as there are far fewer doubles in wholesale packages, so-called displays, than in random mixing.

Among collectors, the wisdom is that you should buy a display first and only trade towards the end.

Buying makes no sense after a certain number.

The more stickers you already have, the more likely you are to get doubles.

If the album is already half full and you buy a new pack, the chance of getting a sticker you still need is only 50%.

Of course, scientists have come up with optimized collection strategies: The recommendation based on simulation results from studies is this: 

  • BUY A DISPLAY [less duplicate than random and cheaper]
  • BUY MORE PACKAGES AND EXCHANGE AS MANY PICTURES AS POSSIBLE until only the allowed number of repurchase pictures are missing 
  • REPURCHASE AT THE END [of the maximum allowed number of images] FROM THE MANUFACTURER.

If you want to get lost in the real nerd strategies, check out the Wikipedia article about the “collector’s problem”.

Some people really get serious about collecting stickers.

The Psychology of Panini

Still, this business model is obviously working out fantastically for Panini. 

Since the beginning of the factory, Panini in Modena has produced an estimated 25 billion packs.

In the meantime, Panini is present in more than 130 countries for a World Cup.

The largest single market is SOCCER-MAD BRAZIL.

They are also more and more present in the US, where they hold official licenses for the NBA, NFL and NASCAR.

4 Reasons Why Fans Spends So much on just Stickers

But why in the world do people go so mad for stickers?

There are four possible reasons why fans spend so much money.

1.    Nostalgia – Panini Business Model

One factor could be nostalgia and memories of their own childhood.

2.    IKEA Effect

A second factor could be the so-called Ikea effect: People consider a table they have assembled themselves to be more valuable than when it is already put together for them.

The work you put into the album makes it seem more valuable.

3.    Playing Instinct

The third effect could be the pure playing instinct, the curiosity when opening a pack.  

It has been proven that satisfying your curiosity generates positive emotions, even if the result is not so great in the end.

You feel a sort of rewarding effect when opening your packs.

Both social and individual aspects play a role in collecting the Panini stickers.  

PEER PRESSURE is not the only component, SWAPPING STICKERS is also part of it.  

Collecting in itself is often an individual motivation, as can also be seen when collecting stamps.

The fact that thousands of grown people coordinate and meet to swap their little stickers is actually crazy if you think about it.

4. Lastly, our brain is tricked: there is the denomination of the price. Panini Business Model

Paninis are divided across many individual packs, so that many people don’t see the total cost.

If you had to pay the price for a complete album all at once [Around 522,90 Euros], few would buy it – but in many small quantities, people pay the relatively high price after all.

Virtual Stickers in this Digital Age

The Panini brothers have made it from selling newspapers in a small Italian city to a global market leader – just by selling stickers of athletes.

Their business model is simple but brilliant.

Although it seems that the focus of Panini is still on physical stickers, the company is not shying away from innovation.

They have launched trading cards of games like Fortnite to embrace the e-sport boom.

And for the Fifa World Cup in 2018, Panini developed an app where fans could collect and swap virtual stickers.

Five million fans joined and collected virtual stickers, so it is likely that the story of the Panini brothers will continue also in the digital age.