Boxing and MMA are integral parts of the sporting community. There has been a long-running debate over which sport is making more money. While both sports have a unique fan base, each sport has also produced some of the most lucrative sporting events in history. In that same breath, both sports have some of the most well-known fighters, such as Floyd Mayweather for boxing and Conor McGregor for MMA. These two fighters fought each other in 2017 when Mayweather beat McGregor. Both fighters walked away with hefty paychecks, which makes sense since they are the two stars of the sport. Let’s unpack which of the two sports makes the most money.
Before getting to the financial aspect, we must look at who currently dominates the sport. One fighter who stands out is Amanda Serrano. This 34-year-old Puerto Rican is an MMA fighter and a wrestler. For the most part, those are two sports, along with boxing, you can do interchangeably. Amanda is the undisputed featherweight champion of the world, a title she has held since 2019. Now, let’s dive into the finances.
While MMA is a relatively new sport, it has gained a large following practically overnight. So, what is MMA? It combines various combat styles such as boxing, wrestling, Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu and more. MMA has given us some of the most dramatic fights in history and some of the biggest stars, including Conor McGregor, Rhonda Rousey and the iconic, undefeated Jon Jones, who have each generated millions of dollars for their fights.
A key factor to MMAs success is its rising popularity. People are willing to fork out hundreds of dollars to watch the world’s best fighters. The sport’s large and dedicated fan base has contributed to its popularity, especially among younger adults. A significant factor in the sport’s financial success is that it uses the pay-per-view model. So, how does it work? The pay-per-view model allows viewers to pay to watch the live sporting event. And depending on the fighters, these figures can easily reach hundreds of dollars. Even wrestling has pay-per-view and recently dropped its schedule for 2023.
While MMA and boxing use the pay-per-view model, MMA is often sold at a much lower price than boxing. This, of course, limits the amount of money generated for a particular fight. The iconic fight between Khabib Nurmagomedov and Conor McGregor generated $180 million in revenue. It was the highest-grossing MMA fight ever. Then there’s the pay-per-view bought, which was 2.4 million, another milestone for the sport. So while MMA’s pay-per-view price point is much lower than boxing, it does contribute a large part of the sport’s revenue.
This long-standing combat sport has been around for more than 100 years. Some of its biggest stars include Muhammed Ali, Mike Tyson and of course, Floyd Mayweather. Each is a cultural icon and their fights have generated millions of dollars in revenue. Those pay-per-views do pay off. There have been countless major boxing events, such as the fight of the century between Mayweather and Manny Pacquiao. It was one of the highest-ever grossing sporting events, generating over $600 million in revenue. Pacquiao could retire quite nicely after this fight, but he recently announced his return to the sport.
So, why is boxing such a financial success? Well, a key factor is the pay-per-view model, much like with MMA. There were 4.6 million buys in total for the Mayweather and Pacquiao fight. This is usually where the sport will generate the most revenue.
Then there’s boxing’s reputation. In most cases, boxing is seen as a high-end sport often watched by celebrities. This ties into its financial success, as it is usually what generates the buzz around a world-famous match.
While both combat sports are full contact, MMA is often seen as more violent and sometimes controversial, even though it is always in a controlled setting. It is important to note that both sports are highly regulated and that fighters and referees are highly trained individuals who know exactly how to punch and kick without causing permanent damage. And boxing is seen as a high-end sport, which is why it is more appealing.
Both sports successfully generate millions in revenue. And this is often done through major events that include big names. However, boxing has existed for much longer, and its reputation is just second to none. And this is partly why boxing has been so financially successful. Then there is the pay-per-view model. It has effectively generated more revenue for boxing since it is sold at a higher price point than MMA.
While both sports have their merits and are exciting, each comes with nuances and complexities. These nuances can contribute to an event’s financial success. Both MMA and boxing face unique challenges and have a range of strengths when it comes to generating revenue; there are a variety of factors that go into financial success. A few of them include the stars at the time, the appeal of the event and marketing strategies.