There space several notable referees in MMA, two of the most well-known being Herb Dean, and ‘Big’ john McCarthy. This referees can be seenrefereeing many huge pay-per-view events, regularly reffing 3 or 4 fights in one night. You may have actually wondered exactly how much referees in the UFC get paid, and also how? every event? top top Salary? so in this post, I’m going to information everything ns can discover in an attempt to answer any type of questions bordering referee earnings.

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So how much perform UFC referees earn?

On average, a UFC referee will certainly earn about $500 per match. For big profile fights, referees can earn up to around $2,000, such as large John McCarthy’s purse of $1,900 because that Aldo vs McGregor. The is an ext common for referees to earn just $300 every fight, together they have the right to ref several matches in one night. Considering the average of $500 per match, multiply by the 89 UFC and also Bellator fights the refereed in 2017, big John earned around $44,500 in 2017.

However, there are a lot of of factors that enter referee pay and how much they can earn in a year. In the remainder of the post, I’m going to cover the sources, main payouts, and estimates on the salary of referees in the UFC.

Official and Estimated Payouts

There are number of sites online claiming to have sources for referee payouts. However, many of this sites do not attach or even mention their sources, so I would certainly take those with a serial of salt. In spite of this, ns did find official payout because that one UFC event, and that was UFC 194.

For the UFC 194 main event match between Jose Aldo (left) and Conor McGregor (right), the NSAC released main payouts for referees Herb Dean and ‘Big’ john McCarthy (center).

According to MMAJunkie and referee ‘Big’ john McCarthy himself, the official payout through the Nevada State strong Commission was $1,900 because that Jose Aldo vs Conor McGregor. Large John and also Herb Dean each earned $1,900, through Herb Dean officiating the co-main event in between Luke Rockhold and Chris Weidman for the Middleweight Championship.

I’m certain you men knew this already, but in instance you didn’t, UFC 194 was a substantial event. The main event alone to be a highly anticipated unification bout in between the long-reigning champion in Aldo, and the fan-favorite interim champ in McGregor.

This provides us some insight regarding what the average pay for a referee is, due to the fact that the $1,900 because that UFC 194 was most likely the greatest payout up to that point. On an episode of his podcast, huge John and Sean Wheelock discuss large John’s pay for the occasion (at approximately 28:20). Big John self confirms the salary is no anything spectacular, and says he mostly does it for the love the the sport.

On the exact same podcast, big John stated that because that amateur fights he gets paid anywhere from $100 come $400. We have the right to assume this is the reduced threshold because that referee salary in the UFC, an interpretation the average is somewhere between $400 and $1,900.

Famous MMA referee Herb Dean, attract the red job of the Nevada State athletic Commission.

It appears the state that sanctions the fight plays a function in referee pay, as man McCarthy stated: “Nevada pays more for a championship struggle than any state pays any official so that $1,900 is the many you’re going come see. Thank you very much, Nevada. It’s an extremely nice of friend to offer us the much. I evaluate it”.

Aside from large John’s podcast, I uncovered this website which reflects some figures for referee income in MMA. However, the write-up is poorly written, does not point out the sources, and overall seems kind the vague and also sketchy. Ns wouldn’t trust your numbers, together they it seems ~ arbitrary, however they space there if you want to take a look.

I likewise want to note that a referee’s salary usually increases with the size of the event and the attention it recieves. MMA is quiet a fairly brand-new and cultivation sport, bringing in many new fans every year. This steady rise in viewership is likely to increase payouts for all the people affiliated in the events, including referees.

I also would think that a referee’s pay straight correlates come his tenure together a referee, and how famous he is. Girlfriend can check out our post on the most UFC famed Referees to acquire an idea of who the better-paid referees are.

Estimating one MMA Referee’s Salary

Now let’s calculation the value of a high-profile referee such as huge John McCarthy. In stimulate to execute this, i looked at a page on Tapology i beg your pardon lists all the fights refereed by large John McCarthy approximately the finish of 2017.

In 2017, large John to be the referee for three organizations, ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC), Bellator, and the Russian promotion Absolute Championship Berkut (ACB). Bellator and also ACB probably pay refs much less than the UFC does as result of their lower popularity, so I’ll save that in mind once estimating huge John’s salary.

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Because fights on The ultimate Fighter TV series are various from UFC events, they are not included when considering referee pay.

I additionally want to keep in mind that the UFC has actually two other establishments under it Dana White’s Tuesday Night Contender collection (DWTNCS), and The ultimate Fighter series (TUF), both of which huge John has refereed. The reason this matters is because I don’t know if the pay because that these species of fights different from fights under the actual UFC banner, so ns won’t be consisting of them in the average.

And lastly, I’m not also sure if the referees get paid every event, or every fight. I’m walk to i think it is per fight, however take note that this might inflate the actual salary if lock instead obtain paid per event.

Considering that big John claimed amateur events pay everywhere from $100-$400, I’m walk to assume $400 is the lowest that a agree fight will pay a ref. I will assume this is the median for every one of the fights that refs, which provides this a nice conservative estimate.

‘Big’ john McCarthy seen below officiating for absolute Championship Berkut in Russia.

In 2017, big John McCarthy refereed 45 UFC fights, 47 ACB fights, and 30 Bellator fights, which is 122 fights total. Assuming the $400 typical per fight, that means John McCarthy earned an approximated $48,800 for refereeing in 2017.

Of course, there space a many of presumptions made v this estimate, and you should take them right into consideration. The two biggest assumptions are the typical pay every fight ($400), and also that refs space paid per fight vs every event.

Also, big John noted on his podcast the a hotel is typically paid because that by the commission. Travel is only covered if the ref has to travel by plane, and they should pay for their very own transportation if lock drive. Any other expenses are covered by the individual.

Why execute Boxing Referees earn More?

During the large John McCarthy’s podcast, him and Sean Wheelock questioned the pay Kenny Bayless obtained for officiating Manny Pacquiao vs Floyd Mayweather, which to be a widely-anticipated boxing match.

Kenny Bayless apparently made $25,000 because that officiating the fight. There room several reasons why the payout in boxing is significantly higher than in MMA.

For one boxing all at once is a much much more popular sport. It has been around for centuries, and is watched by millions of people approximately the world. In contrast, the UFC has actually only been about since 1993, and also is tho growing and also gaining popularity.

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Referee Kenny Bayless, seen right here officiating the fight between Manny Pacquiao and Floyd Mayweather.

Due to the difference in popularity, over there is also a difference in revenue and earnings. Since boxing matches typically carry in much more money than a UFC event, over there is an ext money to pay the fighters, judges, and referees.

An interesting thing to keep in mind is that while the State’s strong Commission selects and also pays the referees for MMA events, in boxing, the promoter is the one who selects and also pays the referee. Ns don’t recognize if this has actually a direct impact on how much a referee earns, however I would assume the a promoter would certainly pay good money to make certain their event is no messed up by a negative referee’s call.

Of course, it also depends on how an excellent the referee in inquiry is, and also the dimension of the specific event they are liked to referee.

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Conclusion

In short, referees in MMA will earn about $500 per match on average. Highly-anticipated events will salary referees more, increase to about $2,000 every fight. Based upon a low median of $400, and also assuming a referee officiates about 120 fights a year, one can expect to make around $48,000 together a referee because that MMA. This depends on a lot of factors, such as size of the event, popular of the referee, and also the state whereby the struggle takes place.

If you chosen this post, feel totally free to check out the Martial Arts background page, where I answer more FAQ’s from fight fans. Thanks for reading!