UFC middleweight contender Derek Brunson was not happy about being passed over for a “Performance of the Night” bonus at UFC Vegas 5.
In the main event of the evening, Brunson pulled off a stunning upset as he was able to defeat highly-touted prospect Edmen Shahbazyan via third-round TKO. Brunson was a +300 betting underdog heading into the fight and not many gave him a chance to win. Despite the odds being stacked against him, Brunson dominated Shahbazyan with his wrestling and ground-and-pound to pick up one of his most impressive wins yet.
Following the event, the UFC handed out its customary $50,000 bonuses for “Fight of the Night” and “Performance of the Night.” Winning FOTN were Bobby Green and Lando Vannata for their action-packed rematch. For POTN, the UFC gave the bonuses to Vicente Luque for his second-round KO over Randy Brown and to Jennifer Maia for her first-round submission over Joanne Calderwood. Brunson, however, was snubbed.
As impressive as Luque and Maia were, Brunson was a massive underdog and he had to defeat an undefeated fighter in Shahbazyan who many were touting as a potential future UFC middleweight champion. Following the announcement that Brunson didn’t get a bonus, he took to social media to share his thoughts. Here’s what Burnson wrote on his Twitter.
No POTN BONUS . Somebody big mad 😬😬😬
— Derek Brunson (@DerekBrunson) August 2, 2020
No POTN BONUS. Somebody big mad
It seems as though Brunson is taking a shot at UFC president Dana White, who, along with matchmakers Mick Maynard and Sean Shelby, determine who wins the bonus awards. It’s no secret that the UFC is incredibly high on Shahbazyan and that he has a connection to Ronda Rousey, the UFC Hall of Famer who is his manager. The UFC set up this fight with Brunson for Shahbazyan to win. Brunson defeating him is huge for his career, but for the UFC, it was better for the company if Shahbazyan won instead.
Ultimately, it comes down to the fact the UFC typically only hands out four bonus awards, and since Green vs. Vannata locked up FOTN, someone out of Luque, Maia, and Brunson was going to get snubbed for POTN. Maia’s win over Calderwood was for sure bonus worthy since she defeated the No. 1 contender at 125lbs, and what Luque did to Brown was impressive as well. But Brunson’s win was arguably more dominant and him getting passed over for a bonus feels like there is something else going on as he suggested himself.
Do you think Derek Brunson should have got a 50k bonus for POTN?