Bubba McDaniel Made 32K Last Year; Fighter Posts His Salary

Bubba ‘The Menace’ McDaniel is 1 – 1 in the UFC, 21 – 7 professionally, and currently unranked in his home division of middleweight.

He is a former “Ultimate Fighter” season 17 contestant (lost to Kelvin Gastelum & Uriah Hall) and has been fighting in the promotion since April of last year. Of his two fights, he won the first by way of submission (Gilbert Smith TUR 17 Finale) and lost the second by way of a unanimous decision (Brad Travares UFC Fight Night 27). Of his two UFC fights, McDaniel earned a total of $24,000; 16K for the TUF 17 finale (8K show / 8K win) and 8K for his UFN 27 loss (8K show). Beyond that, McDaniel registered no (official) post-fight bonuses.

Today, the Menace released the figure for his total accrued (UFC) salary for last year and as established by the “W2” (taxes) form the promotion sent him.

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According to McDaniel, he made a total of $32,000 fighting in the senior circuit.


If this is the case, it appears that the Menace was given an additional 8K in salary, which, in all likelihood, emanates from a locker room bonus for one of his two fights.

On its face it doesn’t appear to be a lot of money. It particularly doesn’t seem like a lot when factoring in taxes that have yet to be paid, gym fees, coaches and trainers that must be compensated, and then the day-to-day expenses of food, rent, travel and other sundry items.

That said, his income was generated over five months and not twelve (April 13th and August 28th) and as such, it needs to be put into proper context. Had McDaniel fought more he would have earned more. Further and as the promotion always states, ‘go out, win, fight in an exciting fashion and you’ll earn more’ and to be fair, it’s a reasonable assertion. However, it still leaves many fans scratching their heads as to how fighters survive; at least without a second job or sponsor money to make up for any financial shortfalls.

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As to why McDaniel disclosed his salary it’s anyone’s guess. Although his release was short and only informational in nature, a statement of fact and nothing more if you will, it could, nonetheless, be seen as a shot at the UFC. As there would be no real reason for McDaniel to release the information, it’s easy to see how some, most particularly UFC President Dana White, might take it as a statement of the Menace’s displeasure with his pay.  

As McDaniel is taking on Tor Troeng at UFC 171 in Dallas this coming March 15th, he’ll have his first opportunity of 2014 to earn and his first chance of the year to prove to Dana White that he (McDaniel) should be getting paid more. As wining and being in exciting fights are the only thing that impress ‘The Boss’ and complaining about pay only draws his ire, McDaniel should probably do his best to wow White with his UFC 171 performance, and if asked by White or the media as to why he posted his salary information, McDaniel should probably just say, ‘because I was proud of it’ and let it go at that.

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Still though, 32K before expenses is not a lot of money for a fighter to live on; proud or not.