Now you know, the next time Dana White claims that Georges St-Pierre is making more than fans think, this is what he's talking about. Forbes magazine reports that GSP's total yearly income comes in at around 12 million dollars anually, with $9 million alone from fighting (twice) and another $3 from sponsors, memorabilia, and other assorted non-sport incomes.
White should know. He is the one that signs the checks that make up the bulk of the income for the man known as Rush. GSP made roughly $9 million combined for his past two fights, according to multiple sources close to the fighter. His current annual income outside the octagon from endorsements, memorabilia and licensing adds another $3 million. St-Pierre's total income of $12 million over the last 12 months makes him the top earner in MMA.
"Georges St-Pierre is our biggest pay-per-view star," White said recently. The numbers back it up. UFC 158 in March where GSP pummeled Nick Diaz, racked up the sport's biggest PPV numbers in three years with 950,000 buys. The ten other UFC events in 2013 averaged 350,000 buys, according to MMAPayout.com. With the HD version of UFC 167 costing $55, the addition of GSP can mean more than $30 million in PPV revenue compared to a non-GSP event. GSP also means a bigger gate, as well as added sponsorship revenue.
St-Pierre's recent bouts have each included a $200,000 guarantee, plus a $200,000 win bonus for the fighter. He also earned "Fight of the Night" bonuses in two of his past four fights that were worth $70,000 and $100,000 respectively. But the big money is in PPV. Top UFC fighters receive a cut of PPV revenue on top of their guarantees and bonuses. By cutting the champion fighters in on the PPV action, White ensures that the stars of MMA will promote the UFC events to help drive up the PPV gross. St-Pierre is practically guaranteed $3 million per fight before stepping into the octagon based on his past PPV audiences, but the numbers can climb quickly. The 950,000 PPV buys for UFC 158 meant a $5 million payday for Rush. The six UFC PPV events featuring GSP since 2009 averaged 820,000 buys.
That is indeed quite a bit of money, the majority of which is wrapped up in PPV sales. But it also gives a good indication of the numbers that Dana White is talking about when he suggests that his top fighters can earn more in MMA than they would in film, or how Jon Jones might be out earning his NFL brethren. Is $12 million an ungodly amount for a top tier pro athlete? No. There are 60 NBA players who will out earn GSP this season in terms of salary, but it's still a pretty decent high water mark.
More from Bloody Elbow:
- UFC 167: St-Pierre vs. Hendricks - Pre-fight thoughts
- UFC 167 fight card primer: Rashad Evans vs. Chael Sonnen
- UFC 167: St-Pierre vs. Hendricks post-fight press conference video
- UFC 167: St. Pierre vs. Hendricks - Live results and play-by-play for PPV main card
- UFC 167 fight card primer: Rory MacDonald vs. Robbie Lawler