On October 11th Joaquin Buckley knocked out Impa Kasanganay with an audacious spinning kick that went viral as soon as Kasanganay hit the canvas. The epic KO will likely be used by the UFC for decades to promote and advertise the promotion.
The man behind the knockout, who scored another highlight reel KO over Jordan Wright at UFC 255, recently spoke to TMZ about all the new attention he is receiving. The 11-3 Buckley, who debuted for the UFC in a loss to Kevin Holland back in August, also revealed that he still hasn’t quit his day job at Walgreens.
“The thing is ... besides UFC — and they’re giving me these big checks — I still don’t have a business of my own. So, I need to just keep working,” said Buckley who added that he felt he needed to keep his day job to maintain a good “working mentality and work ethic”.
In addition to working shifts at the pharmacy and training for his next UFC bout, Buckley is also working on a clothing line called Solid Foundation.
“Until my business is off the ground, we still going to be working at Walgreens.”
There is nothing wrong with working at Walgreens or any of the other jobs UFC fighters have outside of fighting. However, Buckley might be able to afford to leave this gig (and its possible medical coverage and retirement plan)—and fully dedicate himself to his sport—if he were compensated like many other professional athletes in the United States.
This year Buckley has received two $50,000 bonus checks for his wins over Kasangany and Wright. In all three of his UFC appearances Buckley received a Reebok sponsorship check for $3,500. Buckley made $10,000 to show for his UFC debut versus Holland, $24,000 ($12,000 to show, $12,000 win bonus) for his win over Wright and $20,000 ($10,000 to show, $10,000 win bonus) for his win over Kasanganay (all pay figures via The Sports Daily).
If these numbers are accurate, this means Buckley has earned $164,500 from the UFC in 2020.
Signing for just two 10-day contracts for the Charlotte Hornets last season, second-year player Joe Chealy earned a salary of $163,356. In the 2019/20 season he averaged just over 8 minutes and 0.5 points a game. He was the 515th best paid player in the NBA last year, as he didn’t make the full roster, which would’ve earned him a minimum contract of $1.6 million for the year. Unlike Buckley, Chealy did not have to pay for his own coaching or travel (or travel for his coaches) to venues. Chealy’s employer is worth an estimated $1.5 billion. In 2020 the UFC’s valuation was placed at $7 billion.