Three “Huh?” Moments in MMA Last Week: Brainstem Hemorrhages, Bonuses, and Feeder Systems

Justin Gaethje UFC
Justin Gaethje, UFC Vancouver Ceremonial Weigh-In Credit: Jay Anderson/Cageside Press

Should the UFC get rid of fight night bonuses?

According to one Bloody Elbow writer, the UFC should get rid of their fight night bonus structure in favor of an annual stipend for each fighter on the roster. Huh.

“Assuming the UFC wants to keep its roster somewhere around 600 fighters, the $8.4 million they expect to pay in bonus money would give each fighter a ‘salary’ of $14,000 per year. That doesn’t sound like a great deal, but it would be guaranteed and it would come on top of whatever they can earn in their fights. The fight pay wouldn’t change. The UFC budget wouldn’t change, but the lifestyle of many UFC fighters would change.” – via Bloody Elbow

This is a fantastic idea. Even if this is some “back of the napkin” math, the concept is great. The rest of the column points out some of the follies of fighter pay, and while this wouldn’t be a cure-all, it would surely be a more equitable and widely useful way for the promotion to supplement fighter income than event bonuses.

Unfortunately, this idea would also take away the exact kind of leverage that UFC President Dana White and the promotion loves to have with their fighters. When fighters are begging for fight night bonuses and telling their personal stories of struggle on their road to the UFC, the promotion isn’t saddened or bummed out. They’re thrilled. That’s not the signs of a broken system. To them, that’s how the system is supposed to work.


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