UFC President Dana White. (Photo: Joe Camporeale, USA TODAY Sports)
Matt Erickson, USA TODAY Sports
Several past and present UFC fighters made quite a stir recently when they started raising some gripes about how much money they make to fight.
And then UFC President Dana White made a bigger stir when he said, in essence, that if fighters don't like how much money they're making, the UFC could raise the fight purses for the guys on the lower end of the pay scale - and eliminate the fight-night bonuses and discretionary "locker room" bonuses that are handed out.
Problem solved, White said he and the UFC brass had theorized. Nothing was made official, however - it was merely an idea that White floated to the media. And the fighters responded, apparently.
White on Tuesday, as part of a media conference call in support of this month's UFC on FOX 8 event, said the fight-night bonuses and discretionary bonuses won't be going away - so fighters can rest easy.
"At the last press conference (at UFC 162), I told the press we're not doing away with the fight-night bonuses," White said on Tuesday's call. "After I said (we might eliminate them), I got a lot of feedback. The fighters want the (fight-night) bonuses and they want the discretionary bonuses to stay the same. So that's that."
The UFC for many years has given out typically three bonus awards at the end of each card - monetary awards for "Fight of the Night," "Knockout of the Night" and "Submission of the Night." In addition, fighters frequently get separate bonuses in the weeks following a card if they performed particularly well and the UFC did particularly well, itself.
While the fight-night bonuses used to fluctuate in price at levels like $40,000 for smaller cards on FUEL TV or FX, all the way up to $100,000 for UFC 100 or $129,000 for UFC 129, White at the beginning of the year told MMAjunkie.com (www.mmajunkie.com) that the company had decided to keep the bonuses at a flat rate of $50,000 for most all events unless he felt the need to raise them under special circumstances.
Fighters who get one of the fight-night bonuses often can raise their take-home pay significantly. Or, in the case of recent double-bonus winner James Krause, who picked up "Fight of the Night" and "Submission of the Night" for his UFC 161 win over Sam Stout, fortunes can completely change. Instead of making $16,000 for the win in his UFC debut, Krause pocketed an extra $100,000.
The thought of opportunities for windfall like the one Krause had going out the window apparently didn't sit well with many fighters. Now they won't have to worry about it.
The most vocal opponents of fighter pay had included Tim Kennedy, prior to making his UFC debut earlier this month - though he said his comments were taken out of context - and John Cholish, who retired after dropping to 1-2 in the UFC in May.
Matt Erickson writes for MMAJunkie.com, a property of USA TODAY Sports Media Group.
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