Something tells me this is going to hurt the submission guys more than the heavy hitters.
Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) is doing away with its traditional "Submission of the Night" (SOTN) and "Knockout of the Night" (KOTN) post-fight bonuses, instead offering a "Performance of the Night" monetary incentive alongside "Fight of the Night," which will remain a part of the bonus structure.
The change will be put into effect as early this weekend (Feb. 15, 2014) beginning with UFC Fight Night 36: "Machida vs. Mousasi," which takes place inside Arena Jaragua in Santa Catarina, Brazil.
From the official release:
The Ultimate Fighting Championship announced today a modification to its live event bonuses. Effective immediately, UFC will award "Fight of the Night Bonuses" to each of the fighters in the best fight of the night, as well as additional "Performance of the Night Bonuses" to the two best individual performances on the card. The bonus amounts will remain $50,000. The "Performance of Night" bonuses will reward the athletes who put on the best and most exciting individual performances.
There you have it.
Personally, I've wondered if something like this might be coming down the pipe for a while now, as there have been plenty of cards with either no submissions or just one to win it by default.
Check out some of the numbers:
In 2013 there were 33 events. Every event had a KOTN bonus. Five events did not have a submission (UFC on Fuel TV 8, UFC 158, UFC on FOX 7, UFC 162 and UFC Fight Night 33). UFC Fight Night 29 had a submission, but it was Rousimar Palhares' "held on after the tap" heel hook on Mike Pierce, so he was disqualified from getting bonus money (and later released).
Another six events had only one submission to choose from when awarding this bonus: UFC on Fuel TV 7, UFC 160, UFC 161, UFC 166, 167 and UFC on FOX 9.
That means close to 40 percent of all UFC events either had no SOTN bonus or awarded one basically by default. If we toss in Pat Healy's rear naked choke of Jim Miller at UFC 159 (he later tested positive for weed and forfeited both FOTN and SOTN bonuses), then Bryan Caraway's guillotine of Johnny Bedford was the only one on that card, too (Healy's sub money went to Caraway).
One can somewhat see the rationale behind this change.
UFC either wasn't giving out bonuses, or they were going to people whose submissions were perhaps not all that impressive. In addition, the industry is making a strong push to combat brain trauma, so showing up on Capitol Hill (video) to help fight head injuries is probably not a good look when you reward people for delivering concussions.
Instead, they'll be going to more "deserving" fighters who put on a stellar performance, regardless of outcome.
Special thanks to Cory Braiterman, who contributed to the writing of this post.