PFL vs Bellator Payouts: Saudi Arabia Breaks the Bank



PFL vs Bellator Payouts: Saudi Arabia Breaks the Bank

One of the most intriguing cards on MMA's 2024 calendar is taking place this weekend — and the PFL vs Bellator payouts have been fascinating to dissect leading up to it. 

Not only is this the PFL's first event since buying Bellator late last year, but it's also the first MMA event to ever take place in Kingdom Arena in Riyadh, Sauda Arabia — which means that the PFL vs Bellator prize money should be unlike anything we've seen from both of these companies. 

We've perused the internet and compared numbers across multiple sources, in order to go over all of the PFL payouts and Bellator bonuses with you before this weekend's historic event. 

PFL vs Bellator Fighter Pay: What Will Ferreira vs Bader Make This Weekend?

Although this entire PFL vs Bellator card is stacked with top-tier championship fights, the main event is between the two heaviest fighters on the card: Renan Ferreira (the current PFL heavyweight champion) vs Ryan Bader (the current Bellator heavyweight champion)

This main event is a fascinating one, as it pertains to PFL vs Bellator payouts. Of course, the most alluring aspect of PFL fighter pay is that they normally employ a regular season format, and the winner of every PFL weight class at the end of each season earns $1 million in PFL fighter pay. 

Since Ferreira won last year's PFL heavyweight regular season, he earned a $1 million check as a result. 

While this PFL vs Bellator card isn't part of the PFL's regular season, it's safe to assume that Ferreira will be making a boatload of money for being part of the main event. 

For that reason, we believe Renan Ferreira will make $1,100,000 in PFL fighter pay for fighting at PFL vs Bellator this weekend. 

As for Ferreira's opponent, Ryan Bader, Bader made headlines in February of last year, after his Bellator 290 pay was disclosed — and it said that he made $150,000.

After that number was released, Bader spoke with multiple media outlets and claimed that he earns eight to nine times more with Bellator than what he makes with the UFC.

We know that the contracts Bellator fighters had were carried over when the promotion was bought out by the PFL. Therefore, the PFL payouts that Bader will remain the same. 

For that reason, we believe that Ryan Bader will also make $1,100,000 in PFL vs Bellator prize money this weekend. 

PFL vs Bellator Payouts: What the Rest of the Main Card Can Expect

Here are our estimates for what all of the main card fighters of this weekend's card will earn, in terms of PFL vs Bellator prize money:

  • Renan Ferreira – $1,100,000
  • Ryan Bader – $1,100,000
  • Impa Kasanganay – $900,000
  • Johnny Eblen – $1,000,000
  • Ray Cooper III – $700,000
  • Jason Jackson – $750,000
  • Gabriel Alves Braga – $600,000
  • Patricio Pitbull – $1,000,000
  • Bruno Cappelozza – $750,000
  • Vadim Nemkov – $850,000
  • Thiago Santos – $550,000
  • Yoel Romero – $550,000
  • Clay Collard – $800,000
  • AJ McKee – $800,000

As you can see, there is a whole lot of PFL vs Bellator prize money being given out to the fighters on this weekend's card. 

There are a few interesting aspects of these PFL payouts. First of all, we are estimating than the current Bellator middleweight champion Johnny Eblen is making more money than the current PFL champion, Impa Kasanganay — who enters this champion vs champion fight against Eblen as a heavy underdog.

While we aren't certain this is the case, we believe Eblen will be making more money because he had established himself as a dominant champion in Bellator prior to the PFL and Bellator merger.

Kasanganay, however, just recently won the PFL middleweight tournament, and therefore secured his $1 million check. While his current contract is surely exponentially bigger than it was one year ago (and nothing to complain about), Kasanganay securing an upset might earn him more money next time around. 

Some of the other most interesting PFL vs Bellator payouts are from some of the non-champions: Thiago Santos, Joel Romero, Vadim Nemkov, and AJ McKee. 

For Santos and Romero — two former UFC title contenders — they're making an excellent amount of money at this later stage in their careers. Yet, since they aren't technically champions, they likely aren't making the same amount of money as fighters higher up on the card. 

As for Nemkov, he has been the Bellator light heavyweight champion since 2020 — but elected to vacate his title in order to move up to the heavyweight division. This is why his pay is slightly lower than current Bellator champions.

AJ McKee is one of the biggest stars in both Bellator and PFL. While he isn't currently a champion, he's still earning a lot of money to fight the current PFL lightweight champion, Clay Collard. 

Saudi Arabia hosting their first MMA event is massive news for multiple reasons. Considering the gigantic paydays that the Kingdom of Riyadh have been paying the world's best boxers in recent years, MMA fighters should be stoked that they're now dipping their toes into our sport.

Grant Young is a sports writer from San Francisco. He has had two professional Muay Thai fights: he got knocked out in one, and got a knockout in the other. When it comes to his favorite fighters, it's Israel Adesanya, and then it's everyone else.