“Do you want to be a f**king fighter?”
It’s a famous quote from UFC President, Dana White, that’s gotten a lot of lionized hype over the years. Of course, the context in which White gave it is often left out. During the first season of The Ultimate Fighter (TUF), the athletes learn they’re expected to cut weight and fight multiple times on the show ... for free. White busts out his line when some of them dare to question the fairness of this arrangement.
“Do you want to be a f**king fighter?” is a quote that perfectly captures the hard scrabble existence mixed martial arts (MMA) fighters often go through in their attempt to make it. And it comes to mind as I read this tweet from women’s Bantamweight Jessica-Rose Clark after she was overlooked for a $50,000 performance of the night bonus at UFC Vegas 11.
The tweet shows she’s got a whole $17.70 in her bank account on the morning of her fight. Not great. And not a rarity by any means. UFC Vegas 10 performance bonus winner Kevin Croom was in a similar situation:
On Wednesday I had $64 in my bank account, and was trying to figure out how to make it $65......helluva weekend!!!— Kevin Croom (@kevincroom_ufc) September 13, 2020
Of course, his story has a happier ending. He got the bonus thanks to a nice clean submission win in a fight that he was a last-minute underdog replacement for. “Jessy Jess” didn’t lock-in a bonus partially because competition was so stiff amongst the 14 fights at UFC Vegas 11, and partially because the referee screwed up the finish of her fight, forcing her to beat the ever-loving s**t out of her opponent twice in a finish that left everyone feeling kind of greasy.
It’s a bit of bad luck for Clark, who has had her fair share of bad luck en route to what is now looking like a promising run at 135 pounds. A nasty foot injury sandwiched between two losses equals an extremely lean time for her over the past two years. While the scrappy Australian has taken to living in a van by the gym as a lifestyle choice, it’s also part of the price she pays to keep her dreams alive as well. She definitely wants to be a f**king fighter.
Here’s hoping UFC gives her a little extra something something after that great performance. Or hell, even just the opportunity of a quick turnaround so she has a chance to compete twice in 2020.