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How much do BJJ fighters earn?

Discover more about BJJ Fighters and how much money they make from the sport and other revenue streams.

How much do BJJ fighters earn?

BJJ (Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu) entails tournaments such as the CBJJ Brazilian National Championship, ADCC World Championships, IBJJF World Championships, and Pan IBJJF Championships. These tournaments offer somewhat bigger prizes. For instance, in the IBJJF World Championships, a fighter can earn a prize of around $7,000 which is normally the first-place prize for the Black Belt Division. Similarly, winning the black belt division at the ADCC World Championships can earn a fighter about $40,000. These figures are relatively low compared to the amount earned in other sports. 

While top fighters like Gordon, Marcelo Garcia, Danaher, and Andre Galvao earn arguably hundreds of thousands of dollars every year, a bigger percentage of the BJJ fighters make much less than this. Therefore, a higher number of them have to look for other means of making an income. According to a survey by BJJ Fanatics, the average BJJ fighter earns between $4,000 and $40,000 a year. This is just an average. Some earn more than this, while others earn way less than this. 

Ways Used By BJJ Fighters to Make Money

It should be noted that not all fighters become stars and popular. There are only a few fighters who make a big income from fights. To continue to engage in their favorite sport, they have to resort to other ways of additional income. Now let’s take a look at what ways BJJ fighters earn money. Well, they include sponsorships, seminars, selling of instructionals, gym classes, сompeting in prestigious BJJ tournaments, ьarketing, and advertising for brands. 

Graig Jones, a BJJ fighter, created a YouTube video where he shared some of the ways used by BJJ fighters to make money. According to him, all the above-mentioned ways are suitable for any fighter to make an extra income. However, the earnings made are determined by factors such as:

  • The competition success of the fighter.
  • How thriving the BJJ scene is in the location of the fighter.
  • If the fighter has transitioned to MMA or boxing.
  • The reputation and experience record of the fighter.

Sponsorships

Fighters can generate income by entering into advertising agreements with companies. If a BJJ fighter has a good reputation and many followers online, a company may offer him free products and financial support in exchange for advertising their products and services on social media. For instance, a PayID casino might offer a sponsorship deal to a fighter to wear their logo during fights or promote their brand on social media. Such deals can include providing equipment and fees ranging from $500 to $5,000 per year. Particularly successful fighters with championship titles and large numbers of followers can earn much more through generous sponsorship deals. But to do so, they need to maintain their reputation, actively compete, and have a high level of professionalism.

Selling Instructionals

BJJ fighters can make money by selling instructional materials. They record instructions on techniques, which they then sell as DVDs or online subscriptions. Earnings depend on their experience; beginners can get about $1,000 to $5,000 a year. 

For example, based on estimates shared on platforms like Reddit, a fighter like Gordon Ryan makes roughly 100k plus per month on fanatics for selling instructional content. At the same time, someone like Tainan Dalpra bags $300k off just one instructional on AOJ+, a variation of the Open Guard. Here is a screenshot shared by Gordon regarding how much he makes in a month selling one instructional on BJJ fanatics. 

This shows that only super-experienced fighters, possibly a world champion or a well-known name in the BJJ world, can earn a million+ dollars annually by selling instructional content.

Seminars

Fighters teach techniques at seminars, usually in community centers or BJJ gyms. These can last one or two days. Earnings from seminars depend on the location, the fighter’s popularity, and the seminar’s size.

Lesser-known fighters make about $100 to $300 dollars per seminar, including travel expenses. However, if the fighter is renowned in the BJJ industry, they can earn around $1000 to $5,000 per seminar. For example, Gordon Ryan, who is by far the most highly paid fighter in BJJ, earned like $100,000 from a seminar in Dubai, which happened in the year 2021. Another example is Andre Galvao, who, in 2022, earned around $50,000 from a seminar held in London.

Competing in Prestigious BJJ Tournaments

Participating in and achieving success in BJJ tournaments can be a source of income. The amount of money earned depends on factors such as the reputation of the competition, its location, and the fighter’s performance. In regional tournaments, winning first place might fetch modest prizes ranging from $100 to $1,000. However, triumphing in international events like the World Jiu-Jitsu Championships can lead to substantial rewards reaching anywhere between $2,000 and $10,000 or even more. 

Marketing/ Advertising For Brands

Fighters have the opportunity to earn money by partnering with brands and promoting their products. For instance, Marcelo Garcia has established partnerships with brands like RVCA and CTRL while Andre Galvao has collaborated with companies like Atos, Scramble, and Manto. Through these brand partnerships, they can potentially earn around $100,000 or more annually. On the other hand, mid-level BJJ fighters can make anywhere from $5,000 to $10,000 per year through marketing and advertising for brands.

Private Sessions and Gym Training

Training in a gym allows one to earn money. A skilled fighter can earn between $20 and $50 per hour, especially if he has his own gym, as this generates more income than working in someone else’s.

Take Carlos, Fabio Gurgel, and Eddie as examples; they have established gyms in over 600 locations with a student count exceeding 300 in each location resulting in monthly earnings reaching into the millions. Private classes are often one-on-one lessons that can generate a fighter an income of $100 to $500 or even more per hour. A skilled BJJ practitioner could make approximately $50,000 within a two-week period solely from private sessions.

To sum up, there isn’t a straightforward answer regarding the earnings of BJJ fighters. The income they receive is influenced by factors as elaborated in this article. Nevertheless, BJJ fighters have the opportunity to explore various sources of revenue while pursuing their passion and ambitions, in the sport.

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