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Tag: UFC bonuses

Why Eliminating Fight Night Bonuses Could Benefit All UFC Fighters


(Would veteran bonus-grabbers like Joe Lauzon [right] give up their extra cash to help the little guy? / Photo via Getty)

By Trent Reinsmith

After almost every UFC event, the UFC will hold a post-fight press conference. One of the first things mentioned at these get-togethers are the winners of the Fight Night Bonuses. These $50,000 pay-bumps are (usually) handed out to four fighters per event: Two combatants take home Performance of the Night awards, and the individuals that were deemed to have the best fight on the card take home Fight of the Night.

Performance bonuses are a nice little perk that the UFC hands out. However, much like that fuzzy block of cheese in the back of the refrigerator, they may have reached their expiration date.

On a recent edition of the Co-Main Event Podcast, host Chad Dundas suggested that the UFC do away with Fight Night bonuses, and instead use those funds to provide a monthly stipend to every fighter on the UFC roster. Not only is this a good idea, it’s the right thing to do, and it’s the right time for the UFC to do it.

The last time a proposal such as this was floated, it was UFC president Dana White that offered up the suggestion. Ignoring the fact that the majority of the 500 plus fighters on the UFC roster are underpaid as professional athletes, White puffed out his chest, and focused on “the lower level guys,” telling the Las Vegas Sun, “(Expletive) yeah, it could happen (doing away with Fight Night bonuses). That’s what I’m thinking about doing. All the (expletive) lower-level guys think they need their money boosted. Everyone thinks it’s not enough money, so that’s easy to do.”

It was not surprising that many UFC fighters balked at the idea as presented by the bombastic UFC chieftain, and White gladly returned to the status quo.

It was a predictable outcome because it pitted UFC newcomers against long tenured and established fighters. White used a basic dirty management style when he floated the idea, pitting the two factions against each other. Since the UFC veterans outnumber the promotional newbies it was a foregone conclusion that the idea would fail to gain traction.

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UFC 178 Salaries: McGregor, Johnson, Cruz Are Well-Compensated for Their Time


(Dominick Cruz made $2,459.02 per second for his 61-second destruction of Takeya Mizugaki. / Photo via Getty)

The UFC paid out $1,433,000 in disclosed salaries and bonuses to the 22 fighters who competed at UFC 178, with seven of those fighters comfortably landing in six-figure territory. Leading the list is — you guessed it — Conor McGregor, who tacked on $125,000 in bonuses to his already respectable show-money, for a grand total of 200 large. The second-biggest check went to UFC flyweight champion Demetrious Johnson, who gets paid under a quirky “$129k to show, $54k to win” arrangement.

The full list of disclosed payouts is below, along with our usual underpaid/overpaid picks. Note that these figures do not include additional revenue from sponsorships, undisclosed “locker room bonuses,” or percentages of pay-per-view revenue that certain UFC stars are entitled to.

Demetrious Johnson: $183,000 (includes $54,000 win bonus)
Chris Cariaso: $24,000

Donald Cerrone: $126,000 (includes $63,000 win bonus)
Eddie Alvarez: $100,000

Conor McGregor: $200,000 (includes $75,000 win bonus, $50,000 Performance of the Night bonus.)
Dustin Poirier: $34,000

Yoel Romero: $108,000 (includes $29,000 win bonus, $50,000 Fight of the Night bonus)
Tim Kennedy: $120,000 (includes $50,000 Fight of the Night bonus)

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UFC 170 Salaries + Bonuses: Ronda Rousey and Daniel Cormier Both Earn $160,000 in Disclosed Pay


(Cormier spent more on Popeye’s delivery that night than Durkins made for getting his ass kicked. / Props: Stephen R. Sylvanie-USA TODAY Sports, via MMAJunkie)

The UFC paid out $843,000 in disclosed salaries to the fighters who competed at UFC 170: Rousey vs. McMann, according to figures released today by the Nevada State Athletic Commission, in addition to $200,000 in performance bonuses.

Before we get into the numbers, let’s take a moment to point out that they’re basically meaningless, since the UFC doesn’t reveal how much its fighters earn from undisclosed “locker room bonuses” and pay-per-view incentives. (And sometimes, the show/win figure itself is rather suspicious.) For example, UFC 170 headliner Ronda Rousey made just $160,000 in disclosed money for her delightfully controversial TKO of Sara McMann, but everybody knows that she really makes more that GSP, Anderson, and Lesnar combined.

The full UFC 170 salary list is below…

Ronda Rousey ($110,000, including $55,000 win bonus and $50,000 Performance of the Night bonus)
def. Sara McMann ($16,000)

Daniel Cormier ($160,000, including $80,000 win bonus)
def. Patrick Cummins ($8,000)

Rory MacDonald ($150,000, including $50,000 win bonus and $50,000 Fight of the Night bonus)
def. Demian Maia ($114,000, including $50,000 Fight of the Night bonus)

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UFC Changes Fight-Bonus Structure, Introduces “Performance of the Night”


(“Don’t matter whatcha call the dang things, just gimme the dang money. [*spits dip-juice, crashes new boat*]” / Photo via @CowboyCerrone)

Goodbye KOTNs and SOTNs. Hello…POTNs? WTF?

Yesterday, the UFC announced a significant change to the way it awards end-of-night bonuses. Although Fight of the Night bonuses will still be awarded to both fighters in the best scrap of each event, Knockout of the Night and Submission of the Night have now been eliminated in favor of a pair of general “Performance of the Night” bonuses, which will go to the two fighters “who put on the best and most exciting individual performances.” All bonus amounts will remain at $50,000.

While the generic POTN awards might not sound as exciting as the previous awards for gnarly stoppages, they allow the UFC a little more freedom to reward its fighters. For example, the promotion no longer has to give a fighter a Submission of the Night award by default simply because there were no other subs on the card. And theoretically, the UFC could award a fighter a POTN for impressively beating the crap out of his/her opponent for fifteen minutes, even if the fight itself is too lopsided to win Fight of the Night.

Our sources also indicate that the UFC’s undisclosed “locker-room bonuses” will now be paid in the form of Camel Cash. So what do you think of the UFC’s new bonus-system? Good, bad, or who gives a damn?

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TUF 18 Finale Curtain-Jerker Ryan Benoit Makes $100,000 in Bonuses for Losing to Josh Sampo


(First order of business? Getting “RYAN” tattooed on his chest. / Photo via Getty)

Despite getting choked out in the second-round by Josh Sampo, UFC first-timer Ryan Benoit was awarded $100,000 in Fight of the Night bonuses following Saturday’s TUF 18 Finale. Though the FOTN award would normally pocket each fighter $50,000 apiece, UFC president Dana White decided to give both bonuses to Benoit, because Sampo came in 2.5 pounds over his flyweight limit on Friday. As White put it at the post-fight press conference, “it pays to make weight.” (Sampo was fined 10% of his purse for missing weight, half of which went to his opponent, so that’s probably another $600-$800 for Benoit right there.)

Benoit’s hundred-grand windfall is even more surprising because, as the data shows, opening bouts are rarely remembered when it’s time to award bonuses. The Benoit vs. Sampo match had the curtain-jerking spot at the TUF 18 Finale, and was the only fight to be broadcast on Facebook instead of the FOX Sports network. Most likely, you didn’t see it. But in a card marked by underwhelming performances, one-sided beatings, and a brutal disqualification, the Benoit/Sampo fight was at least a competitive scrap.

Ryan Benoit isn’t the first UFC fighter to win two performance bonuses in his Octagon debut; James Krause did it earlier this year when he picked up the Fight of the Night and Submission of the Night awards after coming in as an injury replacement against Sam Stout at UFC 161. But of course, Krause won that fight.

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Interview: A Healthy, Thankful Joe Lauzon Readies to Battle at Home in Boston Saturday Night


(Lauzon still carries a little reminder from his most recent war against Jim Miller. / Photo via Getty)

By Elias Cepeda

“I’m definitely excited and equally scared,” Joe Lauzon says while driving through some nasty Boston traffic this past Wednesday. On Saturday, the Massachusetts lightweight will fight in front of his home town at the Boston Garden on the UFC Fight Night 26 main card — but that isn’t what has Lauzon excited and scared.

The 29-year-old just found out that he and his girlfriend are expecting their first child together, a boy. “Obviously I want everything to go smooth and have a healthy kid. There’s all kinds of stuff to be worried about,” he confesses.

That’s Joe the expecting father talking. Joe the fighter doesn’t expect a child to change anything at all for him.

“Having a kid doesn’t change anything for me, fight wise. There’s a little bit with timing — I don’t want to fight right before or after he is born, but other than that…I train really hard and I fight really hard. I don’t think having a kid will change any of that,” he says.

So don’t expect platitudes from Lauzon about how being a dad adds or takes away from his motivation, as has often been said by other fighters. Joe likes to scrap, always had, always will.

And, after a pretty long lay-off, Lauzon has a good, tough bout ahead of him Saturday against the underrated Michael Johnson. 2012 saw Lauzon raise his star with a win and two Fight of The Year candidates, but he has yet to fight in 2013, choosing to let old injuries heal and wait for a chance to fight in Boston.

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CagePotato Databomb #15: For UFC Bonuses, It Pays to Fight Last


(Click on the chart for the full-size version. For previous Databombs, click here.)

By Reed Kuhn, @Fightnomics

A hot topic in the news lately has been UFC Fight Night Bonuses. This includes the end of event bonuses awarded to the Fight of the Night (FOTN), Knockout of the Night (KOTN), and Submission of the Night (SOTN). Officially, UFC president Dana White says those bonuses are here to stay, which is great news for perpetually exciting fighters like Joe Lauzon, Donald Cerrone, and Frankie Edgar. Bonuses incentivize performance, spread the wealth, and give guys who give their all an official metric for justifying their place on the Zuffa roster.

I’ve already covered the timeline of awarded bonuses, so the natural next question concerns who actually receives them. Now that the standardized Fight Night bonus is fixed at $50,000, regardless of what channel a UFC event is broadcast on, let’s examine a different layer of detail.

What I’ve graphed above is the percentage likelihood of winning a Fight Night bonus based solely on card placement. This particular DataBomb will surely make the heads of some prelim fighters feel like they want to explode.

Indeed, it pays to fight last. It turns out that the fighters competing in the highest profile spots on the fight card are also the most likely to win Fight Night Bonuses. Is that fair? That (presumably) the highest-paid fighters also get more than their share of bonus money? If you’re fighting in a Main Event you have more than a one-in-three chance of winning a bonus of some kind, with most of those bonuses not requiring a finish, or even a win. Whereas towards the bottom of the preliminary cards, fighters average only a one-in-ten chance of taking home a bonus, and more likely require a win inside the distance to do so.

But not so fast…

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CagePotato Databomb #14: The Rise, Fall, and Flattening of UFC Bonuses


(Click on the chart for the full-size version. For previous Databombs, click here.)

By Reed Kuhn, @Fightnomics

In March I made the trip to Montreal for UFC 156 and was puzzled by a financial observation. If the $50,000 Fight Night bonuses for that card sounded small for a pay-per-view event, well, that’s because they were. At least they were “low” when put into historical context, and they’ve been that way ever since.

But let’s start with the big picture with our first DataBomb to have dollars as a unit of measure. The chart above displays the official Fight Night Bonus amount published for Fight of the Night, Knockout of the Night, and Submission of the Night for numbered UFC events since UFC 61 in 2006 through UFC 162 earlier this month. Like Chael Sonnen closing a Skype interview: Kaaaaa…boom.

The Rise of the UFC in the Mid-2000’s

Let’s put this in context. The end of 2006 was a great time for the UFC. In addition to seasons three and four of the smash hit reality series The Ultimate Fighter, the promotion closed out the year with a defining moment in UFC 66. Headlined by future hall of fame superstars Chuck Liddell and Tito Ortiz, the event drew more than one million pay-per-view purchases, a first for the still maturing organization.

It may then come as a surprise that Liddell and Ortiz each only received a $30,000 bonus for their Fight of the Night performance. But not really, because we should all know that there’s a lag between success and financial reward. These same fight night bonus amounts would double by UFC 81 just over a year later when they hit $60,000 for the first time. For part-time fighters on the undercard only making “three and three” back then (i.e., $3,000 to fight and another $3,000 for a win), a windfall $60,000 bonus was potentially life-changing. And bonuses weren’t done growing yet.

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Don’t Worry, Dana White Is Just Bluffing About That ‘Eliminating Bonuses’ Thing


(“It’s an ‘undisclosed locker room bonus,’ okay? That means we don’t tell the media, we don’t tell the IRS, and we especially don’t tell my wife.” / Photo via TerezOwens.com)

For years, the UFC’s end-of-night performance bonuses have rewarded fighters for outstanding battles and finishes in the Octagon, as well as given fans a metric to determine which fighters are the most consistently entertaining. But now that more and more fighters are publicly coming out to blast the promotion’s pay scale, UFC president Dana White says he’s thinking about ending the practice altogether, and using that money instead to bump the guaranteed salaries of lower-tier fighter. As he explained to media yesterday:

“The bonuses were something we’ve been doing out of the kindnesses of our (expletive) hearts,” White said. “That’s not something that was ever done or structured. We started doing it and that was it. It was something we liked to do, thought it was a cool thing to do. Apparently people don’t like it. They want the lower-level guys to get paid more money.”

Asked to clarify if this was really a move the promotion could make in the not-so-distant future, White answered emphatically.

“(Expletive) yeah, it could happen,” White said. “That’s what I’m thinking about doing. All the (expletive) lower-level guys think they need their money boosted. Everyone thinks it’s not enough money, so that’s easy to do.”

This, of course, is nothing more than a transparent bluff, on par with your father threatening to “turn this car around, goddamnit!” 30 minutes into a family road trip. Now that Dana has suggested that the UFC will transform its pay structure — sacrificing those $50,000 end-of-night awards to fatten the paychecks of prospects — here’s what he expects will happen next:

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UFC 146 Salaries: Dos Santos, Cain, Mir Sock Away $200k Apiece; Three Others Crack Six Figures


(That awkward moment when fireballs fail to shoot out of your hands.)

The UFC paid out $1,513,000 in disclosed salaries and performance bonuses for last Saturday’s UFC 146: Dos Santos vs. Mir card, with Junior Dos Santos, Frank Mir, and Cain Velasquez‘s matching $200,000 checks eating up about 40% of the total. The full salary list is below via MMAJunkie. Keep in mind that these figures don’t include additional revenue from sponsorships, undisclosed “locker room bonuses,” or percentages of the pay-per-view revenue that are in some fighters’ contracts.

Junior Dos Santos: $200,000 (no win bonus)
def. Frank Mir: $200,000

Cain Velasquez: $200,000 (includes $100,000 win bonus)
def. Antonio Silva: $70,000

Roy Nelson: $110,000 (includes $20,00 win bonus and $70,000 Knockout of the Night bonus)
def. Dave Herman: $21,000

Stipe Miocic: $20,000 (includes $10,000 win bonus)
def. Shane Del Rosario: $20,000

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