Ric Flair was rushed to the hospital after suffering a medical emergency. TMZ reports that the specifics of Flair’s condition are unknown, but that the situation is “very serious.” The WWE legend had a previous medical scare in 2017, when his intestine ruptured and he placed in a medically induced coma.
Flair’s current health scare has led many to reflect on the life of the beloved wrestler, including his legacy in the ring and how much money he’s made throughout his career. According to Celebrity Net Worth, Flair has an estimated net worth of $3 million.
Read on to learn more about Flair’s finances in 2019:
1. At the Height Of His WWE Career He Made $700K a Year
Flair, 70, is widely considered to be one of the greatest professional wrestlers of all time. He held the title of NWA World Heavyweight Champion a whopping nine times between 1981 and 1993, and was the first holder of both the WCW World Heavyweight Championship and the WCW International World Heavyweight Championship.
During his commercial peak in the 1980s, Pro MMA reports that Flair earned roughly $700K per year. He was paid $700,000 as NWA Champion in 1987-1988, and later earned $730K as WCW Champion. WCW he earned $730,000 per year. By 2000, he was still taking in massive paydays, with his salary for that year being $750K.
Between 1996 and 2000, FOX News reports that Flair earned a total of $1,954,313. His best annual salary was in 1998, when he took home an impressive $780,259. This made him the 13th highest-paid wrestler during this period. In 2016, Grantland stated that Flair was making about $22K each month in TNA, but they hadn’t paid him any royalties in six months.
2. He Was Accused of Failing to Pay $1 Million In Spousal Support to His Ex-Wife In 2013
Flair has alimony payments to make for four different ex-wives. He separated from his most recent wife Jackie Beems in 2011, and was ordered to pay her $4K a month in spousal support, in addition to $15K in legal fees. According to the Sportster, however, Flair did not honor their agreement, and was forced to rectify the situation when Beems accused him of owing her over $1 million in spousal support.
Flair later explained his actions as being related to the death of his son. “The reason I didn’t pay my ex-wife the 32 grand is because my son died and I was in the hospital for a month,’ he told to Daily Mail. “I was in the hospital for a month with a blood clot. I didn’t go to work for three months.”
Flair’s third wife, Tiffany VanDemark, also accrued debt during their marriage, which added strain to the wrestler’s lifestyle. Grantland reports that she owed creditors $754,948 by the time they separated in 2009. “I struggled to maintain our living expenses along with an enormous debt that I had amassed during my previous marriage,” Flair admitted. “Tiffany and I also accrued marital liabilities related to our own failed business ventures. [She] knows as well as anyone that we have no assets and a lot of debt.”
3. His Online Company ‘Ric Flair Finance’ Filed for Bankruptcy In 2008
Flair started an online company called Ric Flair Finance in September 2007. The business was meant as a way of referring customers to lenders, so that they may inquire about loans. According to Grantland, Flair wanted to expand his business reach and “use [his] fame [and] popularity in order to build a lead generation company for mortgages.”
Flair’s business partner, Chris Porter, reportedly told him that they didn’t need a lender or broker license to start the company. Flair would go on to advertise the business on WWE television broadcasts and before a NASCAR race in Delaware.
Ric Flair Finance lasted less than a year, and closed up shop in July 2008. Grantland says that Flair’s business model “turned out to be completely illegal.” The company was penalized for not having a broker license, and North Carolina shut it down for noncompliance. Ric Flair Finance filed for bankruptcy, and Porter sued the wrestler for $115K on a $140K loan that was unpaid.
4. The IRS Began Siezing His WWE Earnings In 2005 as a Means of Paying Off Back Taxes
Flair’s wealth has decreased as the years have gone on, and this is due to the his long-standing issues with the IRS. According to Bleacher Report, Flair failed to pay taxes for the years 1982, 1983, and 1988. By the time the IRS came to collect 1990, he owed a sizable $62K in back taxes. He paid the debt, but the IRS were forced to go after him again in 2000.
The federal government issued a lien on Flair’s estate for $874K, largely due to back taxes he owed from the years 1994-96 and 1998-99. In 2005, the IRS began seizing Flair’s WWE earnings as a means of paying off his debts. By December of that same year, WrestleZone reports that the IRS had already seized over $200K. Flair has also had to contend with various lawsuits over the years. In 2008, C&G Leasing sued him for $130K plus interest over a loan to rent gym equipment.
In 2004, he was accused of sexual harassment by two flight attendants. The attendants in question, Taralyn Cappellano and Heidi Doyle, said that Flair them touch his crotch and that he “forcibly detained and restrained” Doyle “from leaving the back of the galley of the airplane while he sexually assaulted her.” Flair denied these accusations, but agreed to settle out of court for an undisclosed amount.
5. He’s Been Forced to Sell Off His WWE Memorabilia to Square His Debts
Flair has had to to pay off his various debts by selling his WWE memorabilia. Grantland reports that the wrestler signed a security financing agreement with Conbraco in 2008. As collateral for the $185K he owned in the company, he was forced to sell off two of his championship belts, as well as wrestling gear, a Rolex watch given to him by Shawn Michaels, and framed magazine covers.
In 2011, an order for contempt and arrest was issued on Flair for failure to pay $35,000 he owed to a merchandise company called Highspots, Inc. Highspots had made a deal to sell one of Flair’s NMA title belts, but they were unable to because Flair was already as collateral for his debt. “We made our bed with Ric Flair, and it took us two years to get out of it,” said Highspots owner Michael Bochicchio said. “He has absolutely no plans for the future.
During a 2016 appearance on the Stone Cold Podcast, Flair revealed that he once borrowed $800K from WWE Vince McMahon, and had to pay him back by giving him a WrestleMania paycheck. “When I’ve had financial woes, through my divorces, he’s lent me money,” Flair explained. “But I’ve paid him back… One time, I was into him for $800,000. Eight hundred grand. He said, ‘I wouldn’t lend my kid this kind of money.’ But I got my WrestleMania check [from WrestleMania XXIV]…I won’t tell you what it was, but it was a lot. Biggest paycheck I ever got in my life, right? ‘For Deposit Only.’ I handed it right back to [Vince].”