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Midnight Mania! All fighters should follow Justin Gaethje’s example, negotiate end to ‘win bonuses’

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MMA: UFC Fight Night-Lincoln-Gaethje vs Vick Steven Branscombe-USA TODAY Sports

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Justin Gaethje was very clear about his desire to renegotiate his contract with the Ultimate Fighting Championship following his win over James Vick. Specifically, he wants to get rid of his win bonus and get all his money up front.

”It should get me a business meeting with the UFC, that’s what it should give me,” he said. “I want to fight the best. I’m happy with the UFC, I’m not unhappy with them. But the way I put it on the line, I need all my money up front. And that’s how it should work for people like me. They should use me as an example. If you want all your money, you fight like Justin Gaethje.”

Not every fighter is going to fight like Justin Gaethje, but he has a very legitimate point. He puts it all on the line every fight; he should be getting paid up front. But then again, so should all the fighters. Win bonuses have long been seen as a tool for promoters to seem to offer more, knowing they will only pay half the fighters their win bonus on any given card. As fighters are impossible optimists- you have to be in this sport- they are easy marks for this tactic. But, like Gaethje... okay, maybe not QUITE like Gaethje... they each put their health, mental and physical, on the line every fight. Fighters should begin negotiating for higher flat wages and not let the dangled promise of a win bonus end up netting them less.

Joe Rogan also made the point that judges frequently make mistakes or suspect calls; when they do, they end up costing fighters half their paycheck (and awarding a win bonus to another).

Update: Justin Gaethje himself chimed in; he doesn’t want anyone thinking this is HIS idea. The thought that all (or at any rate, more) fighters should negotiate for a flat rate, is my idea. Gaethje said what he said, above.


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