Rob Kearney is the first openly gay Strongman and recently he dropped by Joe Rogan’s man cave studio for a quick “one on one” podcasting session. Rob talked about the usual stuff; being openly gay in Strongman, how he started with Strongman through cheerleading among other stuff. However, among the usual cool stuff talk, Rob peeled back the curtains on a very secretive subject among the world of Strongman- the paycheck.
According to Rob, the World’s Strongest Man winner gets a flat fee of 50.000 US dollars. With second and third place getting probably getting somewhere between a bit less and a lot less money. He didn’t mention do the WSM organizers cover any travel expenses but I would think they probably cover at least some travel and/or accommodation expenses. But that’s just WSM…what about Arnold Classic shows? Well, according to Rob, they do pay a bit more and the gravy also gets spread out a bit more.
The Arnold Strongman Classic has really grown over the years and now that it’s no longer an invite-only show it has a lot more events throughout the year that are meaningful because guys need points for the big show in Columbus, Ohio.
Now, this is important because, again, according to Rob-all ten Strongman competing in an Arnold event get paid. International shows pay 10k the winner and each guy ranked below the winner gets 2k less and the same structure follows for everyone bellow all the way down to 6th placed guy. Since Arnold Classic pays for the traveling expenses, it leaves a much lesser dent in the competitor’s pockets.
Another perk of competing at Arnold international shows is the chance of competing at the main show in Columbus, Ohio. There the paycheck for the winner is nearly double ($85.000) that the WSM pays out and second or third (Rob couldn’t confirm with 100% certainty) place get almost equal to what a WSM winner gets AND all athletes get show money. It is absolutely absurd that a winner of the World’s Strongest Man contest, the undisputed Strongest person on the planet-gets less than a mid-card fighter in the UFC. I would bet Brian Shaw gets that much money on a monthly basis from his youtube channel alone.
Watch the video below:
At this point, Joe Rogan, with the power of logical deduction, concludes that the main reason why Strongmen have to compete so much (Rob said he competes for up to 40 times a year). If you ever thought being a Strongman was badass and easy, think again. It pays almost nothing, you risk life-altering injury every time you compete and you have to force-feed yourself on a daily basis to maintain an unhealthy bodyweight just so the massive weights you lift regularly don’t crush you.
It’s cruel, t’s borderline masochistic but that’s life…and things aren’t really that bad. Rob concludes that Strongman has been experiencing a huge boom in popularity lately. Popularity brings ticket paying people to contests, which brings in more money, which in results should end up giving the competitors more money. Also, everyone is on youtube these days and that sweet youtube money sure does come in handy.