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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