How Much Do UFC Refs Make: The Payouts of the Octagon Heroes

How Much Do UFC Refs Make: The Payouts of the Octagon Heroes

There is no doubt that the UFC fighters are the main stars of the fight. 

But do you know who has a lot of responsibilities and is a big deal in every MMA event?


So how much do UFC refs make for such a significant role?

Get ready to find out.

How Much Do UFC Refs Make?

The UFC referees are responsible for enforcing the game’s rules and ensuring that both fighters follow them during the event. To do their job effectively, they need to be knowledgeable about the sport and able to make quick decisions. 

With great responsibility comes a big check. UFC referees are paid handsomely for their services. Thus enjoy a comfortable lifestyle.

The UFC officials are hired on a fight-to-fight basis and are paid a fee per event. The most significant earnings of the UFC referees come from the Pay-per-view or PPV. 

The UFC referee’s salary mainly depends on:

  • referee’s reputation
  • the UFC event 
  • referee’s experience
  • the funding that the promoter has.

Let’s see how much entry-level, professional and female UFC referees make. 

Entry Level MMA Referees

Starting with the rookie UFC referees out there,  they get paid £200 and up to £400 per fight. They get significantly less money than how much a UFC referee makes as a professional.

Considering their experience being referees at UFC events, their annual salary can be around £11 600.

Professional MMA Referees

The professional MMA referee fees per fight can be approximately £560 to £2,000.

The male pro referees can make about £305,000 in one year. 

The highest-paid UFC referee is the American mixed martial arts referee Herb Dean. His annual salary is approximately £400,000, and his net worth is £2 million.

Female MMA Referees

Unfortunately, the salaries for female UFC referees are drastically lower compared to the male UFC referee’s salaries.

Female referees in the UFC make a modest amount of £800 per fight, but only if they have a high reputation. If not, there is a probability of earning as much as the entry-level referees or £200 per fight.

The female UFC ref’s annual salary is approximately £48,000. 

One of the highest-paid female UFC referees is Kim Winslow, with a yearly income from UFC matches of more than £40,000.

Who Determines UFC Referee Salaries? 

It might seem odd,  but the UFC does NOT decide how much UFC refs get paid. Instead, UFC hires the MMA officials from the State Athletic Commission by paying a fee. 

The Commission decides what portion of the cost will be the UFC referee’s salary. 

How Much Do UFC Refs Get Paid per PPV?

The PPV is an important piece of the total UFC earnings of the referees. But how much does a UFC referee make per PPV? 

We’ll have to go through the PPV earnings of different levels of referees.

First, the entry-level refs usually don’t get hired to work at PPV UFC events. 

On the other hand, male professional refs at a PPV UFC match earn between £4,000 and £12,000 per fight. 

At the same time, the female refs make way less money than their male peers and get approximately £2,800 for one PPV fight. 

So, to sum up, and compare how much UFC refs get paid, let’s see the table of earnings of the beginner, professional and female UFC referees.

LevelFees per fightAnnual earnings PPV Bonus
Entry-level MMA Referees£200 – £400£11,600None
Professional MMA Referees£560 – £2,000£305,000£4,000 – £12,000
Female MMA Referees£200 – £800£48,000£2,800

How Do You Become a UFC Referee?

If you’re interested in becoming a UFC referee, there are a few things you need to do. Here is a step-by-step guide on how to become a UFC referee. 

  • Get familiar with MMA terminology and rules.
  • Improve your physical condition.
  • Choose if you want to obtain a certification just for a referee or both referee and judge. You can see the courses on the COMMAND website, an internationally recognized MMA referee and judging training school.
  • Pass all practical and theoretical sections of testing and obtain your licence.
  • Start by being a referee for more minor MMA matches until you turn pro.
  • Stay up to date with the newest changes in the UFC Championship.

The road to becoming a UFC referee is filled with ups and downs. First, you have to be determined that you want a career of being the hero of the octagon, be patient and persistent. 

How Does UFC Referee Salary Compare with Boxing Referees?

Generally speaking, average boxing refs tend to make more money than their colleagues from the UFC. The main reason is that boxing is considered a more popular sport. Thus it brings more money.

The average pro boxing referees make from £2400 to £4000 per match, which is higher than the average amount that professional UFC refs make, from £560 to £2,000.

Furthermore, The British and European WBU refs usually get paid according to the fight purse. For example, the boxing referees can earn a maximum of £2,112 for purses over £800,000. 

Wrap Up

In the UFC, referees play a crucial role in ensuring the safety of the fighters and maintaining order in the octagon and although they don’t make the same amount of money as some of the highest-paid UFC fighters, they still make a decent amount of money.

Do you think that the importance of the referees in the UFC is equivalent to how much do UFC refs make? Or should they be paid more?

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