UFC Champion Reveals How Much EA Games Pays for the Use of Fighters’ Images in Its UFC Game

Suvrat Singh

The Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) has become a global phenomenon, with millions of fans following the action-packed sport. As the popularity of the UFC grows, so does its representation in various media, including video games. EA Games’ UFC series is one of the most popular sports games, offering fans the opportunity to control their favorite fighters. But how much do these fighters actually earn from having their likenesses featured in the game? Recently, a UFC champion revealed the financial details behind these digital deals.

The Financials of Fighter Likeness Deals

When it comes to video games, athletes’ likenesses are valuable assets. EA Games, a leading developer in the gaming industry, recognizes this and compensates UFC fighters for their digital representations. According to the UFC champion who disclosed these details, the payment for using a fighter’s image in EA’s UFC game series is surprisingly modest compared to the overall revenue generated by the game.


The relatively low compensation might seem surprising given the popularity and profitability of the UFC games. However, for many fighters, being featured in the game provides significant non-monetary benefits. It enhances their visibility, expands their fan base, and can lead to additional sponsorship and promotional opportunities. This is similar to how online casino sites use celebrity endorsements and athlete likenesses to attract players, providing visibility and engagement opportunities beyond direct financial compensation. Fighters reportedly receive a flat fee for their inclusion in the game, which ranges from $10,000 to $25,000.


This amount is not dependent on the sales or success of the game, meaning that whether the game sells millions of copies or just a few, the fighters’ compensation remains the same. This payment structure is quite different from other entertainment industries, where royalties based on sales are more common.

Broader Implications for Fighters

The use of fighters’ images in video games raises important questions about athlete compensation and the value of digital likenesses. For the UFC, the partnership with EA Games is lucrative, helping to promote the brand and engage fans in new ways. However, the fighters themselves receive only a small fraction of the financial benefits from this partnership.

In the broader context of online entertainment and gambling, the issue of athlete compensation is also relevant. For instance, online casino sites often use celebrity endorsements and athlete likenesses to attract players. While the financial agreements in these contexts can vary, the principle remains the same: the value of an athlete’s image is significant, but the direct financial benefits to the athlete may not always reflect this value adequately.

Potential for Change

There is ongoing debate within the UFC and the wider sports community about how athletes should be compensated for their digital likenesses. Some argue that a royalty-based system would be fairer, providing fighters with ongoing income that reflects the game’s performance. Others believe that the current flat fee system is simpler and provides a guaranteed payout for fighters, regardless of the game’s success.

As the digital entertainment landscape continues to evolve, these discussions are likely to become more prominent. With the increasing popularity of virtual reality and augmented reality technologies, the use of athletes’ images in digital formats is set to expand even further. Ensuring that fighters are fairly compensated for their contributions to these digital products will be an important issue for the UFC and other sports organizations to address.

Looking at Other Sports

Comparatively, athletes in other sports also face similar issues regarding compensation for their likenesses. For example, players in major sports leagues like the NFL, NBA, and MLB typically receive a portion of the profits from video games featuring their likenesses through their players’ associations. These associations negotiate collective bargaining agreements that include provisions for video game royalties, ensuring that athletes receive a fair share of the revenue generated by their digital representations.

The UFC, however, operates differently as it does not have a fighters’ union to negotiate on behalf of the athletes. This lack of collective bargaining power can result in less favorable terms for fighters when it comes to licensing their likenesses for video games and other media.


The disclosure by a UFC champion about the payments received from EA Games for the use of fighters’ images in the UFC game series sheds light on an important issue within the sports and gaming industries. While the flat fee structure provides some compensation to fighters, it raises questions about fairness and the true value of an athlete’s digital likeness.

As the industry continues to grow and evolve, so too will the discussions around athlete compensation, potentially leading to more equitable arrangements in the future. Additionally, it’s important to consider how the use of digital images may impact future technologies, such as virtual and augmented reality. These new formats could significantly increase opportunities for monetizing athletes’ images, warranting a review of current compensation models. For fighters in the UFC and other leagues, this could mean more transparent and lucrative contract terms.

For now, UFC fighters continue to weigh the benefits of increased visibility and fan engagement against the relatively modest financial compensation provided by these digital deals. In the future, with changes in the industry and growing awareness of athletes’ rights, it’s possible that a balance will be reached that ensures fair compensation for their contributions to digital entertainment.

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