UFC fighters are going to lose against the “jock tax” this weekend

Taxes can easily dodge a rear-naked chokehold.
Taxes can easily dodge a rear-naked chokehold.
Image: USA TODAY Sports/Jerry Lai
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UFC 232 was supposed to take place in Las Vegas this Saturday (Dec. 29). But one of the headliners, Jon Jones, had some banned substances show up in one of his samples (paywall), which is troubling as he has a history of failed drug tests. Nevada authorities would not approve him to fight without further tests.

So the UFC moved the whole event to Los Angeles, whose authorities will allow Jones to fight. (He has become the first mixed martial-arts fighter to sign up for two drug-testing regimes to allow the fight to go ahead.)

While that’s fine for fight fans, it may not be so good for the fighters, as the MMA site Bloody Elbow reported. Amanda Nunes, who is part of the other of the two main events, complained about what moving the fights from Nevada, which has no personal income tax, would mean.

A MMA reporter calculated the difference:

That is because of what has become known as a “jock tax,” whereby visiting athletes as considered employees generating income while working in California. (Several other US states have similar taxes.) It can mean a lot of income lost.

At one of her last fights, for example, Nunes reportedly made $500,000 in purse and fight-night bonuses. If she made that again on Saturday, she would face a marginal tax rate of 11.3% from California on at least some of that income.