UFC post-fight bonuses set at $50K

March 14, 2013

MMA Junkie reports that the UFC has capped all official fight bonuses to $50,000.  The bonuses for Fight of the Night, Submission of the Night and KO of the Night had fluctuated in the past but has remained at $50,000 the past five events.

It appears that the UFC policy officially began this year as December’ 2012’s UFC 155 bonuses were at $65,000 each.  Notably, as pointed out by MMA Junkie, the biggest official post-fight bonuses were $129,000 each for UFC 129 (obvious reasons) and $160,000 each for Diego Sanchez and Martin Kampmann for an exemplary fight at UFC on Versus 3.

Payout Perspective:

Its not clear whether to standardize the fight night bonuses to $50,000 is a sign that the UFC will give more discretionary (unreported) bonuses, boost fight purses or just a way to curb payroll.  One would think that the UFC would keep the fight bonuses a fluctuating award as an incentive for its fighters (i.e., if you get KO of the night you could get $50K or $150K). Will the announcement that the UFC bonus is set at $50,000 hurt or help fights?  Is the incentive still there for a fighter to finish a fight in the third round or play it safe and win (and avoid getting knocked out).

11 Responses to “UFC post-fight bonuses set at $50K”

  1. Machiel Van on March 14th, 2013 1:21 PM

    Strange move. I’m willing to bet that historically, the “of the night” bonuses aren’t always the largest discretionary bonuses of the night, just the only bonuses that are reported. I can’t really see why they’d do this other than to save money, or to present a consistent figure for fans.

  2. Jose on March 14th, 2013 3:30 PM

    Like a number of recent UFC moves, this is being sold as helping out fighters on less high profile cards, but is really a cost-saving measure by the UFC.

    UFC doesn’t want to admit that they are being forced to save money, but that’s exactly what they’re doing.

    Also, the biggest news is that Dana White’s ear surgery was a complete and total failure. Dana White is a unique force of personality and UFC’s success is directly related to him. Going forward Dana will never operate again at his peak level. He’ll be 80% at best and will always be subject to these debilitating attacks from his Meniere’s disease.

    This is the biggest issue facing UFC. They are going to be forced to transition earlier than planned to a post-Dana era.

    At this stage at any moment Dana can suffer an attack and be bedridden for a day or several days at a time. He has little to no control over it and just has to endure it. It’s very sad. Meniere’s is not a trivial disease. In fact, for sufferers that can find no relief there is a depressingly high suicide rate as they find it just intolerable.

    Hopefully for Dana and UFC he has built UFC to the point where it can operate even with Dana at 80%.

    Dana can still have the nerve-cutting surgery — but that takes months to recover from and you have to relearn how to walk. If he ever chooses that route he’ll have to give up control of UFC for probably 6 months.

    This is a huge deal for UFC. And a huge risk. Dana is still young so I’m sure he and UFC expected him to be going 100% for the next 20 years. That’s not going to happen now.

  3. Random Dude on March 14th, 2013 3:39 PM

    Definitely seems like cost cutting. Also looks like Liz Carmouche didn’t get one of those mythical backroom bonuses every talks about. Here is something she tweeted this week.

    “My life hasn’t changed much since the big @ufc fight but if you buy a private lesson from me you can help #payoffmytruck!” -Liz Carmouche

  4. Jose on March 14th, 2013 4:15 PM

    And speaking of Dana’s health, recently on Joe Rogan’s podcast Dana talked about having brain damage himself from his days boxing and from a severe beating he took once when he got jumped by some guys. Apparently he took the beating on the same ear that developed Meniere’s disease. He said the guys jumped and just wailed on his head on that ear over and over. He said as part of setting up the UFC’s insurance he got a brain scan which revealed telltale “spots” of brain damage.

    On that same podcast Dana talked about how he barely sleeps and has for years. Chronic lack of sleep is very bad for your health and a good predictor for serious health problems. It was a fascinating podcast, but there were several seriously concerning facts that Dana revealed about his, fairly poor, state of health.

    I think Dana is entertaining as hell, so I hope he has a miracle recovery from his ailments, but odds aren’t in his favor.

  5. Brain Smasher on March 14th, 2013 6:07 PM

    I think its best to use a set amount. Keep in mind some awards were as low as 25-30K. Knowing it will be 50K will be better incentive than hoping it will be 50K. Also fans and the media will know exactly what the bonus means and id worth without a guessing game. It also keeps people from trying to manuver onto big PPVs where bonus money was ussually higher. Why should non main event fighters on one PPV get less than another PPV or event? Now your rewards isnt effected by who headlined the card. Great move imo.

  6. Brain Smasher on March 14th, 2013 6:49 PM

    I dont see how you guys are getting this is saving the UFC money. Without taking into account of events that didnt have a Sub of the night or KO of the night and crediting each even with 4 bonus’. The UFC paid out $6,860,000 in 2012 for all events. With the same abount of awards at $50,000 each. The UFC would still pay out $6,200,000. The UFC isnt going to put in a strict cap to save a small amount like that over the course of a year. Second of all if it was to save money they wouldnt have announced the cap at all. They would have just continued to give less amounts and not draw attention to it. Also half of the events last year had a bonus amount at or less than the 50,000. For the most part there was only 2 numbers used. That was 65K for PPVs and 40K for tv events. They kind of met in the middle. The only real difference is the few times the UFC give 70-75K for mega events(4).

    Now if it is a money issue. The only one i can see is they just dont want it to get out of hand down the road. KInd of like Rookie contracts in the NFL. If you dont cap a number it will always rise with other salaries and inflation. But i dont even buy that. Because as cost rise the UFC will raise this cap volentarily. So they wont save anything there either. I just think they wanted to make this process simple. There is a thousand reasons why it is best to do this. It was never a good idea to have it some random amount to begin with. And it was never fair to those who was stuck on a TV event who bonus average was $47,000 rather than a PPV which was $66,500.

    If they were just cutting cost it would be much more than taking the average from 55K to 50K. They would have went to 25-30

  7. duck on March 15th, 2013 8:11 AM

    Random Dude did you see her new truck? She would have probably needed more than her $12,000 confirmed pay just to get that on finance, especially for someone who “didn’t have a table” before the fight.

  8. BrainSmasher on March 15th, 2013 9:33 AM

    Yeah there is no way she got that financed on her own when she couldn’t afford to even train before. Unless she has a co-signer she had to have paid cash. That truck is much more than 12,000.

  9. Jeremy Lynch on March 15th, 2013 5:15 PM

    So the UFC is looking to save money at a time where, for the last few months, revenue is up? 2011 and 2012 saw a number of shows doing less than 300k and ever 200k. In the last six months, 1 show did less than 400k. In addition to PPV buys, TV ratings are also up.

    They wait until after six good months to do this?

    That makes very little sense.

  10. Brain Smasher on March 16th, 2013 12:35 AM

    I agree and they sure wouldnt have been so obvious about it. Its silly. The bonus money had risen up to 65,70,75K+ because they volentaritly give that much away. It would never have been that high if they didnt want it that high and it wouldnt have stayed there if they were in a crunch. Also why did they give 2 KO of the Night awards on the last show? With no sub award they could have kept this much needed 50,000.

  11. codemaster on March 16th, 2013 11:30 AM

    I see the hand of Lorenzo Fertitia in this. Setting a standard bonus for all fights makes sense. I think that emotion sometimes figured in the fight bonus amount before–such as 129,000 bonuses for UFC 129.

    This is just a rationalization of bonus policy–which provides fairness for fighters, and predictablity for financial planning.

    Public statements and actions by the UFC recently indicate that the top brass are attempting to rationalize many elements of the UFC–including how many fighters they keep on their roster and why. This sort of rationalization process is common among every company from time to time–both successful and unsuccessful companies. .

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