‘I Paid More In Taxes Than I Made Last Year In My Fight’

Sean O’Malley has surpassed needing mixed martial arts (MMA) for financial stability.

Ultimate Fighting Championship’s (UFC) Bantamweight champion took the throne last year after a superstar rise through the ranks off of Dana White’s Contender Series in 2017. Needing just one picture-perfect counter punch to the dome of Aljamain Sterling, O’Malley defeated the former titlist in round two of their UFC 292 main event in August 2023 (watch highlights).

O’Malley, 29, was already a made man as a top contender before he became champion. Between his podcast, YouTube channel, and various other media outlets. According to “Sugar,” he’s done so well outside of the Octagon that the payouts aren’t all too close numbers-wise.

“It depends what these guys’ goals are,” O’Malley said on Bradley Martyn’s Raw Talk about having a strong social media presence. “My goal is always to become a multi-multi-multi-multi-multi-multi-millionaire. I wanted to become — make a lot of money. You can make a lot of money in the UFC not talking s—t, not really being on social media, doing all that thing. But you’re not — it’s gonna be harder when you have to win 5000 fights in a row.

“I paid more in taxes than I made last year in my fight [with Sterling],” he continued. “I made a lot of money fighting but I made triple that from social media. From Instagram, Snapchat, Twitter, all these different social medias. I made triple the amount I made fighting. I made a lot of money fighting. So, it just depends what these guys’ goals are.”

UFC 292 took place in Boston, Massachusetts where the commission discloses payouts. Per the purses released, O’Malley made a flat $500,000 in his title-winning effort.

O’Malley has successfully defended his title once since he won the title. The champion defeated Marlon “Chito” Vera via a unanimous decision at UFC 299 in March 2024 (watch highlights). Next on deck for the champion appears to be a defense against the consensus No. 1 contender, Merab Dvalishvili. In recent months, “The Machine” has started to take matters into his own hands promotional outside of fighting, and O’Malley recognizes it.

“Merab’s on like a 10-fight winning streak,” O’Malley said. “One of the most boring guys in UFC history and he’s finally kind of changing it up a bit and kind of getting some attention now. I think Merab’s doing a good job. I think people are finding out they gotta be — I think Merab genuinely is kind of a goofball and I think he’s being like himself and that’s why it’s working. I don’t think he’s forcing it.”

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