It’s no surprise that Gordon Ryan makes a lot of money. Or rather, as the world’s most successful and most in-demand professional grappler right now, he makes the most money that you can in this sport. It shouldn’t come as much of a surprise to learn that the world of professional grappling is not exactly swimming in money and even if you’re able to win a World Championship, it’s still almost impossible to make a comfortable living off of competing alone.
Of course, nothing is guaranteed as well. Even for someone of Ryan’s skill level, there’s no guarantee that he will walk away a winner in every match or tournament he enters and for a great deal of them, it’s essentially all or nothing when it comes to prize money. Even if you decide to play it safe and stick to promotions that stage superfight events and pay athletes for their appearance rather than their victory there’s still not a great deal of money available there either. Fight 2 Win is one of the premier grappling promotions in North America, and they usually pay out just over a million dollars a year, spread across literally thousands of competitors.
For this reason, Gordon Ryan explains that his way of looking at money in the sport is to treat competition as an opportunity to build your brand. It’s your brand that is going to really get you paid, when you’re able to release instructional content and run a successful gym thanks to your reputation. He’s not alone either, as Ronaldo ‘Jacare’ Souza recently said much the same thing about his MMA career. Even as a UFC veteran and multiple-time IBJJF and ADCC world champion, he still believes that he is able to earn more money running a school than actually competing himself.
Now that Ryan has revealed in a post on his official Instagram account that this year would’ve been the very first of his career that he would earn over $200,000, it sheds a lot more light on the situation surrounding his potential match against Andre Galvao at ADCC 2022. Galvao has previously asked for the promotion to pay him a million dollars in order to take the match and although organizers have already said this is impossible, given how much money is there to be made in the sport it seems like an even more ludicrous request.