Dana White: Fight of the Night and Discretionary Bonuses Will Not Change
The conversation about fighter pay in mixed martial arts is still a hot button subject, but it seems the biggest segment of the competitors in the UFC are happy with things just the way they are right now.
Recently, UFC president Dana White spoke out after several fighters had done interviews complaining about fighter pay.
Some undercard fighters on UFC events will routinely walk away with a payday less than $10,000, which most will also argue is not nearly enough to live on while preparing for a high level mixed martial arts bout.
At UFC 162 in Las Vegas on July 6, Kazuki Tokudome walked out with a loss on his record and an $8000 payday, while David Mitchell was paid $10,000 for his losing effort against Mike Pierce.
The argument has been that the undercard fighters, while valuable, don't attract the crowds or sell tickets to an event. Which is why at UFC 162, former UFC middleweight champion and headliner Anderson Silva took home a whopping $600,000 salary.
White's proposed solution to pay the undercard fighters more money up front was to do away with the UFC's bonus structure system. Currently the UFC pays out bonuses for "Fight of the Night," "Submission of the Night" and "Knockout of the Night" (a set amount of $50,000 per bonus) and also with their discretionary bonus system as well.
“It wasn't just the 'Fight of the Night' bonuses, it was all bonuses," White said about eliminating the additional pay to give undercard fighters more money. "There are a lot of bonuses that fly around this company, and the reality is that the bonuses that are given are bonuses that are deserved."
A UFC bout agreement has a set standard pay that a fighter receives as well as a win bonus for the victor in the matchup.
For several years, the UFC has also paid fighters what has been known as a "locker room bonus" or "discretionary bonus" that is given based on performance or other circumstances surrounding a fight.
These funds are not public and are paid out by the UFC to the fighters directly.
Following White's initial statement about possibly doing away with the bonuses, he says now the fighters under contract with his promotion don't want anything to change.
"At the last press conference I talked to the press, I told them we're not doing away with the 'Fight of the Night' bonuses. After I said that, we had a lot of feedback from fighters, and fighters want the finish bonuses," White revealed during a media conference call on Tuesday. "They want the finish bonuses and fighters want the discretionary bonuses to stay the same. So that's that."
White has routinely praised fighters that put on the best performances, and he's willing to pay extra to those that go above and beyond during a show.
It appears for now, the majority of UFC fighters would rather keep the bonus structure as is and not revamp the entire system under which they are paid.
Damon Martin is a Featured Columnist for Bleacher Report and all quotes were obtained firsthand unless otherwise noted.
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