On any given mixed martial arts (MMA) event night, Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) President Dana White and Co. will dish out at least $200,000 in extra cash to reward fighters who go above and beyond the status quo.
Indeed, it's commonplace for White to announce "Fight of the Night," "Knockout of the Night" and "Submission of the Night" bonuses -- all of which were recently capped at $50,000 across the board -- to encourage fighters to leave it all inside the Octagon and deliver crowd-pleasing performances (view full archive here).
It's quite the handsome reward, especially for lesser-known under card competitors like James Krause, who recently doubled up at UFC 161 to take home an extra mind-blowing $100,000. On the flip side, those who struggle to make ends meet because of small salaries such as UFC on FX 8's John Cholish -- who lamented his meager $2,014 payday (before deductions) -- complain that it's quite common to lose money after all training-related expenses are paid.
It's a double-edged sword, and seemingly a sore spot for White, who today (July 1, 2013) suggested during a media luncheon in California that he has heard enough complaints and is prepared to spread the wealth.
He vents (via Las Vegas Sun):
"The bonuses were something we’ve been doing out of the kindnesses of our (expletive) hearts. 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.... 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."
Fighters have been beating the bum fighter pay drum seemingly forever, even higher-profile former champions such as Randy Couture and Quinton Jackson, among others, who have suggested the world's leading promotion could -- and should -- share more profit with its talent.
The conversation has apparently reached a tipping point thanks to disgruntled ex-fighters such as Jon Fitch (watch his argument here), as well as UFC 162 participant Tim Kennedy, who called his salary "pathetic" and reasoned he could make more as a garbage man (he quickly -- and wisely -- back-tracked).
"Then be a fucking garbage man. There’s the answer to that question. No disrespect, but who gives a shit about Tim Kennedy. Is he selling out venues? Are they buying fucking tickets for Tim Kennedy?"
Most likely the answer to that rhetorical question is, "No," which also applies to his pay-per-view (PPV) main card counterpart, Roger Gracie, this weekend (Sat., July 6, 2013) at MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada.
It seems like a case of careful what you wish for, UFC fighters, because at the end of the day, no one is forcing signatures on potentially life-changing bout agreements.