MMA News

Tuesday, 07/02/2013, 09:42 am

Dana White Offers Solution to Low Fighter Pay: Cut Bonuses

There is always talk after each event on the pertinent and on-going issue of fighter pay. In a sport where your body is placed, arguably, in some of the most stressful states that one could endure, its easy to see why some may complain for not making top-dollar.

The target for all the anger seems to unanimously be UFC president Dana White who often replies to fighters who are unhappy with pay, even if they no longer fight under the ZUFFA banner.

White has seemingly found a solution for this problem, however, but it might not be a favorable one.

During a press luncheon, White stated that in order to pay more to the ‘lower-level’ fighters who participate on any given fight card, the UFC is considering putting an end to the long running ‘Bonus’ system that awards fighters for impressive fights, submissions, or knockouts:

“Let’s do away with the bonuses,” White said. “You don’t like the structure? All right. We’ll pay the lower level guys more money and no more f—ing bonuses.

These bonus checks level off at around $50,000 on average but have climbed rather high in the past. Also, a fighter is not limited to the amount of bonuses that he or she receives (although 2 out of 3 is the obvious maximum), meaning that a fighter can potentially walk away with double the original bonus prize if they are to have a great night in the cage.

White may have been simply playing Devil’s advocate in threatening to cut bonuses, but still, if talks continue about low fighter pay, White may go ahead and pull the trigger:

“Yeah, it could happen. That’s what I’m thinking about doing. All the lower level guys want their money boosted. That’s easy to do.”

One of the most outspoken advocates for higher fighter pay comes from former UFC welterweight, Jon Fitch. Fitch had been cut following his loss at UFC 156 to Demian Maia. In that bout, Fitch had made a reported sum of $66,000 with no bonus as he did not win the fight. Since then, he has fought just once for his new promotion, The World Series of Fighting, and made a reported $30,000, again not receiving a bonus for the loss.

No official word on whether or not White is really planning this move. Hopefully somewhere down the line we see an implementation of both suitable pay to appease fighters and bonus checks, awarding them for leaving it all the Octagon.


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73 Responses to “Dana White Offers Solution to Low Fighter Pay: Cut Bonuses”

  1. David says:

    I find it funny that guys on the bottom, are the ones complaining, especially when they are not the ones who are not performing. Just because you are in the top league, doesn’t mean you are entitled to be paid top dollar. Even compared to their bottom ladder contemporaries in other MMA promotions such as Bellator, Sengoku, DREAM, or regional/local promotions, they are making far more than they are per fight.

    Even guys who are boxers that appear on HBO undercards aren’t pulling in massive amounts of money simply because they are fighting on HBO. On a recent HBO card, 8 of the 12 fighters that appeared on the card, made less than 8 grand as a base. 4 of those fighters made 2,500 or less. So if you want more money, the best way to convince an employer why you should be paid more, is to SHOW them why. Just because they have it, doesn’t mean you are entitled to it. And just because you fight for a living, doesn’t make you any more deserving than someone who types for a living. You CHOSE to be punched in the face for a living, nobody is forcing you.

    • jon says:

      The UFC should share a larger percentage of the revenue with the fighters. Other sports such as basketball,hockey, etc give players between 47 and 57% of the revenue. Compare to 3% that the UFC gives to its fighters. Making MMA more lucrative for all the fighters not just the top 5% would make the sport more competitive as more athletes would choose to pursue the sport.

  2. doc says:

    I wonder if these guys do not know how to read? It is all in the contract right?

  3. KIDD433 says:

    Of course it’s the boring fighters that are bitching about pay.Removing the fight bonuses is a bad idea, if you take away the bonuses, you take away some incentive to finish a fight,or even fight in exciting fashion. On top of that, their’s a lot of worry of who’s going to get cut so you’ll see a lot more fighters resort to lay n pray to win a fight. One of those boring ass fighters could even dry hump themselves a belt, and we can be stuck with another GSP.

  4. slapper says:

    You bet your butt these fighters work harder than Dana does.

  5. GRT 3000 says:

    oh shit…here it comes. The beginning of the end for actual fight incentive. Then it becomes a fuckin point-fest more boring thn boxing.

  6. Dddddddd says:

    I understand that a killer performance should be rewarded but Dana uses this to dictate the sport. I would think that theres fighters that would be more progressive had they been paid better. It takes it to make it in the real world. I couldn’t imagine trying to put together a camp or trying to travel with hardly anything. There might be the best fighter ever out there that needs a little more money to put things together.
    It kinda pisses me off that Dana in his best Dictators voice says fine ill quit rewarding the guys that deserve it the most.
    Who is to say who deserves the most or earned the most.
    Dana’s gotta put this off on somebody. If he’s gonna take away bonuses change the rules so you can’t lay on someone and let the sport dictate its self.

  7. K2 says:

    If he takes away the fight bonuses then he should take away the judges. If neither fighter wins the fight then the fight is a draw and no one get a win bonus. That will make fighters fight for a finish more and fights should be more exciting then.

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