Dana White wasn’t lying when he told fighters that the UFC isn’t a career. Athletes at the bottom of event cards often find themselves going broke or even into debt just to make it to fight night. But from the sound of things, it’s not a way better situation at the top end of cards either. At least not if a fighter wants to be a contender.
Former bantamweight champion Miesha Tate recently made her return to the Octagon after nearly five years in retirement. ‘Cupcake’ looked to be in fantastic form, picking up the 3rd round TKO over Marion Reneau, after which she made her intentions clear: Miesha Tate is looking to be champion again.
Just what that takes? On a recent episode of her MMA on SiriusXM podcast, Tate revealed that, despite taking home a $200k fight purse, practically every dollar of that was taken up by taxes and training expenses.
“I didn’t even—like I told you, my whole fight purse was gone; show and win, for this fight,” Tate responded when co-host Ryan McKinnell brought up the subject of fighter pay.
“I at least spent, it had to be about 98% at least. So, maybe I walked away with a little bit. But, out of $200,000? Yeah, I’m just lucky I made a bonus, to be honest,” Tate revealed. “I’m serious, that’s how much it costs. Because you take taxes off the top. 70% of my fight purse is gone immediately, right off the top. So I have 30% to work with. And that 30% I take to buy my organic foods, to get my – whatever – training gear, heart rate monitors, whatever other things that I need to invest in to make the camp go well. And it’s expensive. You know, it’s very expensive to eat like that.
️"My whole fight purse was gone. Show and win for this fight." -- @MieshaTate explains to @RyanMcKinnell how "at least 98%" of her purse went towards expenses for her #UFCVegas31 comeback fight— MMA on SiriusXM (@MMAonSiriusXM) August 19, 2021
“It’s very expensive to just facilitate the things that I need to do; travel to training different places. Especially when you have your head coach is remote, is in Spokane, you know? So I fly him down, fly him back. Flying out to Denver to go and train with Trevor Wittman, getting to Southern California to train with Treigning Labs; all the supplements I’ve had to invest in and things like that as well. It’s just, yeah, it’s a lot more expensive than people would think. It’s not as glorious.
“And that’s why it’s like, you cannot set out to do this for the money,” Tate added. “And if you really want to be the best, investing in yourself is pricey. It’s very very very pricey. But, I’m doubling down on myself, because I know the money is when you have the belt, when you get those PPV dollars. That’s real money, then we’re talking. The rest of this fighting stuff is just, like, we’re not making a killing, you know? We’re not making a killing. But, I’m investing in myself because I believe in myself, I know I can become a champion again, and I’m doing this because I want to, you know what I mean?”
There’s no word yet on just when Tate might be returning to action. But by all appearances, as long as she’s dead set on getting to a title fight again, it doesn’t seem like she’ll be making much money out of her MMA career along the way.