Ronda Rousey Gets Paid Peanuts Compared To The Male UFC Champs
Rousey, perhaps the most dominant UFC fighter in the world these days—of any gender—gets a third what the men get
Ronda Rousey is the definition of a breakout star: After lighting a spark of body image positivity by telling off anyone who thinks her body is too “masculine,” she won her 12th fight in 34 seconds, maintaining her undefeated record. She also happened to write a New York Times bestselling autobiography, which Paramount Pictures secured the rights to Monday, with Rousey playing herself.
So why is she making less than a third of what her male counterparts make per fight?
Rousey made $140,000 in her UFC contract to win the UFC 190 match on Saturday night against Bethe Correia—$70,000 to show up and $70,000 to win. Now take UFC middleweight champion Chris Weidman, who, like Rousey, is undefeated, with 13 wins (Rousey has 12). Weidman made $500,000 in May’s UFC 187 event—$250,000 to show and $250,000 to win.
That means Rousey made less than one-third of what Weidman made for a fight, not factoring in endorsements or other bonuses.
Rousey and Weidman offer a case study in the pay gap between male and female fighters. Weidman was paid between $10,000 and $100,000 for his first nine fights. When he won the UFC middleweight champion title in June 2013, the pay for the next fight skyrocketed to $400,000—$200,000 for showing up and $200,000 for winning. For his 11th and 12th fights, he was guaranteed $450,000 and $500,000, respectively, for winning. (The UFC also has various pay “escalators” such as Fight of the Night and Submission of the Night, which can add to a fighter’s takehome money.)
While Weidman is getting $50,000 raises, Rousey has seen her pay go up in $10,000 increments after each successful title defense.
The question remains: Why is Ronda Rousey, clearly the most dominant woman in her sport, being paid significantly less than the top male fighters? With well over half-a-million people shelling out $60 for pay-per-view to see Rousey’s latest knockout, it may be time she starts getting a larger cut of the pie.