By: Jamie Penick, MMATorch Editor-in-Chief
A report in the new edition of ESPN the Magazine looking at the highest paid athletes in 30 different sports reveals that former UFC Heavyweight Champion Brock Lesnar made the most money of any fighter in the sport of mixed martial arts in 2010.
Lesnar’s estimated earnings of $5,300,000 came in slightly under the average top earnings for the 30 sports, though that number was skewed heavily by very large payouts in professional baseball, boxing, basketball and auto racing, each of which came in at around $25 million and up for the top earner.
That number for Lesnar was only for his estimated salary and pay-per-view earnings for the year, and didn’t include any sponsorships and outside earnings from his two fights in 2010. Of the 30 sports listed, Lesnar’s $5.3 million brought MMA to the #12 slot in terms of top earner.
Penick’s Analysis: It’s not at all surprising that Lesnar is the highest paid fighter in the sport, especially when this number doesn’t even include sponsorships or anything else. He’s the biggest pay-per-view draw the sport has seen so far, and even his $5.3 million is probably well below what it should be for the top draw in the sport. Still, with how young the sport is compared to all of the others on the list it’s impressive that it’s gotten to the point where the top draw is getting closer and closer to the level of pay of some of these other sports. There’s still a long way to go, but it’s heading in the right direction.