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This UFC Champion Made Less Than a NIL College Football Deal From UFC Video Games

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The former UFC flyweight world champion, Demetrious Johnson has not only dominated the octagon but also made a pretty penny over his career. From staring on the cover of UFC’s popular video game series to million dollar ONE Championship deal.

According to a recent tweet by Johnson disclosed that he earned a total of $72,500 for featuring in UFC games 2 through 4. This amount includes being the cover athlete for UFC 3’s “Icon Edition.”
However, the payout is shockingly lower then expected. What could be the reason?

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In the early days of UFC, Johnson was a big star but UFC itself didn’t had a lot of takers. Hence the low payout. Compared to this top college athletes make over a million bucks from similar deals with gaming companies.

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Demetrious Johnson: The First Check: $25,000

Demetrious Johnson’s Earnings from UFC Video Games: A Gamer’s Dream

Demetrious Johnson’s journey into the gaming world began when he allowed his likeness to be used in the UFC video games. His very first check for being part of the franchise was a cool $25,000. While some might raise an eyebrow at this seemingly modest amount, Johnson puts it into perspective: “Think about this. $25,000 just to be in a video game. I don’t think Ryu or Ken have ever gotten a check for $25,000.”

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UFC 3 and the Icon Edition

As the franchise evolved, so did Johnson’s earnings. For UFC 3, he received a check of $12,500. Although lower than the initial payment, Johnson was content because the checks kept coming—either annually or quarterly. Then came the opportunity of a lifetime: being featured on the front cover of UFC 3’s Icon Edition. Johnson signed the agreement and received a whopping $10,000. Not bad for a gamer who had already left the UFC by that point.

UFC 4 and Beyond

Even after Johnson’s departure from the UFC, his character continued to appear in the games. When UFC 4 hit the shelves, he received another check—this time, another $25,000. Johnson appreciates that his likeness is still being used, and he’s thrilled that both the UFC and EA continue to compensate athletes for their digital presence.

Total Earnings: $72,500

In total, Demetrious Johnson banked just over $70,000 for allowing EA and the UFC to use his likeness. From 2014 to 2024, he made a grand total of $72,500. Not bad for a side gig, right?

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