How Much Do UFC Referees Make?

As fans, we’re often enthralled by the explosive action and drama that unfolds inside the UFC Octagon. But have you ever stopped to consider the crucial role played by the third person in the ring – the referee. 

These skilled officials are tasked with ensuring fair play, enforcing the rules, and above all, prioritizing fighter safety. 

Yet, amidst the bright lights and roaring crowds, how much do these unsung heroes truly earn for their pivotal contributions? Let’s delve into the financial realities of being a UFC referee.

Payment Structure

Unlike the fighters, UFC referees are not salaried employees of the organization. Instead, they operate on a pay-per-fight basis, much like independent contractors. 

This compensation model means their earnings can fluctuate significantly, depending on the number of events they officiate and the prominence of the fights they oversee.

Earnings Breakdown

Earnings Breakdown

To shed light on the breakdown, let’s look at the typical pay ranges:

  • For preliminary fights, a UFC referee can expect to earn between $500 and $1,000 per bout.
  • As the stakes increase for main card fights, the compensation range jumps to $1,000 to $2,500 per fight.
  • The true financial rewards come with high-profile main events and title fights, where experienced referees can command fees exceeding $2,500 per fight.

It’s important to note that these figures are mere estimates, as actual earnings can vary based on factors such as the referee’s experience, reputation within the organization, and the specific event.

Read More : How Much Money Do NFL Referees Earn? Unveiling the Financial Rewards

Estimated Salaries for High-Profile UFC Referees

To illustrate the potential earnings for elite officials, here’s a table showcasing the estimated per-fight earnings of some of the most renowned UFC referees:

Referee NameEstimated Earnings per Fight
Herb Dean$1,500 – $3,000
John McCarthy$1,500 – $3,000
Dan Miragliotta$1,000 – $2,500
Marc Goddard$1,000 – $2,500
Jason Herzog$1,000 – $2,500

Note: These figures are approximate and based on available information and estimates. Actual earnings may differ.

Additional Considerations

Additional Considerations

While the pay-per-fight model can be lucrative, it’s essential to consider additional factors:

  1. Multiple Fight Assignments: Referees often officiate multiple bouts in a single event, significantly boosting their earnings for that day.
  2. High Skill and Dedication Required: Being a UFC referee demands a remarkable level of skill, training, and dedication – not every official will be assigned to high-profile, lucrative fights regularly.


There’s no denying that being a UFC referees can be a rewarding career, both in terms of the excitement of being part of major sporting events and the potential for substantial financial compensation. 

While the pay-per-fight structure inherently leads to fluctuations in earnings, experienced referees who consistently officiate main card and title fights can undoubtedly earn a respectable income in the world of mixed martial arts.

As fans, we should appreciate the pivotal role these officials play in ensuring the integrity and safety of the sport we love. So, the next time you witness a thrilling UFC bout, take a moment to acknowledge the unsung hero in the center of the action – the referee.

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