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‘Is Charles today rich? No.’ - Oliveira breaks down UFC performance bonus pay

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UFC lightweight champion Charles Oliviera revealed he’s taken home just a fraction of the 17 so-called $50,000 bonuses he’s won.

Newly crowned UFC lightweight champion Charles Oliveira received a hero’s welcome when he returned to Sao Paulo recently. After his historic win over Michael Chandler at UFC 262 Do Bronx declared that, “The favela has won!”

Oliveira’s history growing up in one of Brazil’s more impoverished areas is well documented. As is his reported generosity in giving back to his community, which includes handing out food packages to current favela residents.

The new champion recently spoke to Combate on how his life, and finances, might change now that he holds the lightweight belt.

During that appearance Oliveira got real in talking about how he still needs to worry about his income. He also exposed the realities behind receiving those much prized $50,000 performance bonuses (something Oliveira has done 17 times).

News of the appearance comes via R/MMA and poster MrPeligro. That post received a reply from Portuguese speaker RandyLiddell, who provided a more accurate English translation of what Oliveira said.

On the podcast Oliveira reportedly said that he “still needs to worry about his financial situation,” but that he is anticipating a “more comfortable life now that he is the champ.”

When discussing bonuses, Oliveira revealed that he has only received a fraction of all the $50,000 bonuses he has received from various submission, fight and performance of the night awards.

“We don’t actually get $50,000, we end up with $15,000 or $20,000,” he said. “Not to mention that I live in Brazil, so I need to transfer my fight earnings from the U.S to Brazil and exchange the currency which means paying more fees. Then I need to pay my trainers, supplements, it’s complicated. People think that I am rich, but I’m not. I will still become rich, get a share of the pay-per-view, I am now at a level where I can make serious money. Things will start getting better, even more so than they already are.”

Oliveira continued to say that 30% of each $50,000 bonus he receives goes to his team. “Then you need to discount another 12% or 15% depending on which U.S State you fought in. You have other deductions for I don’t know what or to where... When you see it at the end, you got less than guys who didn’t do anything. I didn’t earn $50,000 bonuses 17 times, I actually earned $15,000, $12,000, $10,000.”

Oliviera said that his decade long tenure in the UFC, despite all these bonuses, has not lead to him becoming ‘rich’.

“Is Charles today rich? No, I have a good life. I have a better life than I had. Do I have a nice car? Yes, but I also have to pay it in expensive instalments. Do I have a motorcycle? I do, but I need to pay another set of instalments.

“What I always wanted for my life was to try to be able to buy all the best things as much as possible, because you you never know what tomorrow may bring. And to accomplish my dreams, I pay for things slowly. If I stay six or seven months without fighting, then things start to get tight. I read the other day an article saying I got paid nine hundred thousand dollars or something, I said: If it happened I am being robbed, because it didn’t get to me.”

Oliveira’s recent title win came as part of a current nine fight winning streak. That run started with a submission over Clay Guida at UFC 225 in 2018. Since then he has tapped out Jim Miller and Kevin Lee and knocked out Nik Lentz and Jared Gordon. To secure his shot at the vacant title he outclassed Tony Ferguson for a unanimous decision at UFC 256 in December.