Demetrious Johnson Reveals Earnings From UFC Video Games, How Fighters Get Paid

"Mighty Mouse" details how he and his fellow fighters get paid for the UFC video games.

Dj Ufc Video Game
(via @mighty, @easportsufc - Instagram)

Ever wonder how fighters make their money from appearing in the UFC video games? Well, Demetrious Johnson has got you covered.

As it turns out, the former UFC Flyweight Champion will be cutting checks long after departing from the MMA world leader in 2018. Johnson, who was traded off to ONE Championship for Ben Askren, is still a part of the UFC’s roster of athletes when it comes to their video games.

Following previous installements under the ‘THQ’ banner, the UFC ushered in a new line of video games, starting with “EA Sports UFC” in 2014. EA Sports, known for developing ‘Madden NFL’ among many other projects, would follow it up with four more video games with the latest being “UFC 5”, which came out in Oct. 2023.

Johnson’s First Check From EA Sports UFC

Along with many other fighters, Johnson signed off on his likeness to be used as a playable character in the games and as “Mighty Mouse” explains, they are compensated for it.

“One day, I’m at home, I’m playing video games, and I get a email stating that, hey, since your likeness is being used a lot in the video game, we are sending you a check,” Johnson said on his YouTube channel. “Now the very first check I got for being in the UFC video game was $25,000.

“Now a lot of you guys were like, ‘That was it?’ Guys, think about this: $25,000 to just be in a video game. I don’t think Ryu, Ken [from Street Fighter] has ever got a check for $25,000. Let that sink in boys. $25,000 for not getting punched in the face. $25,000 for just being in a video game with what you people love using me as a character. So, it was ecstatic.”

Johnson’s Pay-Outs Per Game

The money kept piling up for Johnson, even when he went off to ONE Championship in late 2018. “It’s just free money coming to me,” Johnson said of his UFC video game paychecks which were “common every year or quarter”. Johnson reveals his payouts for  three games and an added bonus for being on the cover of UFC 3’s “Icon Edition”. 

  • EA Sports UFC: $25,000
  • UFC 2: N/A
  • UFC 3: $12,500 – Icon Edition: an additional $10,000
  • UFC 4: $25,000
  • UFC 5: N/A

In total, Johnson has made an estimated $72,500.

“I think it’s absolutely amazing for me to all make that type of money without getting punched in the face,” Johnson said of the pay-outs.

EA Sports Tracks Data, Pays Fighters Depending On Their In-Game Popularity

As Johnson explains, in-game UFC fighters get paid depending on how much their characters are played— which means the more times you play as “Mighty Mouse”, the mightier the money is for the former UFC Champion.

“Now how do they dictate how much money you’re gonna get paid? I can’t dictate it. You guys actually dictate how much I get paid by how often you guys use me in the game,” Johnson continued. “Now, when you log on to your game, let’s say you play on off offline mode or you play online mode, each character you pick, there’s a little ticker. It sends the data to the big mainframe computer and that’s how they keep track of it.

“They do it for Street Fighter 6… they do it for all the games out there because they wanna track to see what character is being played the most and what game modes they like the most. So, they’re always tracking your data and keeping all the analytics and be able to put it together. So, that’s how it dictates how much money your boy gets. I think that’s fair. It’s based on the popularity of the character in a game. So if everybody and their mom keeps playing me, then I will get a bigger check. 

Demetrious Johnson says he has yet to get a paycheck for UFC 5, which came out late last year.

Published on May 10, 2024 at 4:31 pm
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