At the top of the game, the benefits seem obvious.
Fame, notoriety and wealth are often noted as by-products of a successful career in combat sports; but UFC heavyweight contender Derrick Lewis says that it’s a long road to the top to achieve the type of financial independence one would often associate with a high level professional athlete.
Lewis is one of the most well-regarded fighters in the UFC heavyweight division, having delivered some of the most memorable knockouts in the weight category’s history and became one of only a handful of fighters to headline a mixed martial arts event in Madison Square Garden in his unsuccessful bid to seize the world title from then-champ Daniel Cormier a few years back.
“I believe try to find something else,” Lewis said, offering some sound financial advice. “You’ll probably make more money starting off working at a regular job than fighting, for sure. … I didn’t have no other choice. I love fighting. I used to love fighting in the streets for free, and so I might as well just get paid doing it.
“At the beginning, you don’t get paid a lot,” Lewis said. “I’m a top 5, top 10 paid athlete in the UFC, so I get paid pretty well.”
But it doesn’t stop there for Lewis, who has opened up businesses outside of his fighting career — several of which have proved to be sound investments.
“I own a beauty salon, and I have a hotshot (trucking) company, and I fight part-time,” he said.