How Much Are UFC Bonuses? | Easily Explained
Over the years, UFC bonuses have varied in amount, until they finally became a fixed number as the UFC broke into mainstream popularity.
In this page, we will explain the different types of UFC bonuses given out to fighters, why there are bonuses, how the bonuses have changed over the years, and all of the types of bonuses given out in the history of the UFC.
Table of Contents
- How Much Are UFC Bonuses?
- Why Does the UFC Have Bonuses?
- UFC Bends the Rules on Bonuses Sometimes
- All of the Bonuses That The UFC Has Had
- Locker Room Bonus
How Much Are UFC Bonuses?
UFC bonuses are typically $50,000, and these bonuses are awarded at the end of the night to fighters who earn the Performance of the Night or Fight of the Night bonuses.
Additionally, the UFC has recently introduced a 'Fan Bonus of the Night Bonus', where fans can vote on three fighters who deserve a bonus for their performance.
However the Fan of the Night Bonus is only available on UFC Pay Per View Events, meaning fighters will not be eligible during ESPN/ESPN + 'Fight Night' cards.
The UFC has partnered with Crypto.com to pay out a total of $60,000 in bonuses, payable in Bitcoin to three fighters for the night.
- First place: $30,0000
- Second place: $20,000
- Third place: $10,000
The people have spoken! Congrats to our #UFCFanBonus winners:— Crypto.com (@cryptocom) August 1, 2022
🥉@Thebeast_ufc#UFC278 is just around the corner so don’t forget to vote for your favorite UFC athletes! pic.twitter.com/EWqu5c9Lwm
Although there are only three bonuses that the UFC typically gives out, it doesn't mean that they are only given out to one or two fighters per night.
Multiple Fighters Can Earn Either Bonus
In the UFC Fight Night: Vera vs Cruz event, both Marlon Vera and Tyson Nam won the Performance of the night bonus.
The Fight of the Night bonus was given to Nate Landwehr and David Onama.
Both Bonuses Don't Have to Be Given Out
In the UFC Fight Night Blaydes vs Aspinall, four Performance of the Night bonuses were given out, but no Fight of the Night bonuses.
- Performance Of The Night: Paddy Pimblett
- Performance Of The Night: Molly McCann
- Performance Of The Night: Nikita Krylov
- Performance Of The Night: Jonathan Pierce
The UFC does a breakdown of the bonuses that they give out from every event, and recaps why each fighter was given a specific bonus.
Why Does the UFC Have Bonuses?
The UFC has bonuses in order to incentivize fighters to put on their best performance, and try to finish the fight.
It's important to remember that the UFC was directly modeled at targeting Boxing's biggest weaknesses.
Since Dana White's career began in the Boxing world, he would see two major flaws in Boxing:
- The best fighters wouldn't fight each other, and would opt to pad their records instead
- The highest paid boxers wouldn't always engage in fights when they had guaranteed purses
White goes into detail in the below interview from 2013.
Dana White’s philosophy around UFC fighter pay hasn’t changed in a decade. This clip is from his 2013 lecture at Stanford University. Have at it. pic.twitter.com/IuYQatHs9n— Maximum Power (@TheMaximumPower) January 5, 2022
This incentive-based structure has come under scrutiny, as some believe that all fighters should receive a guaranteed bonus in the event that they get a finish, rather than only if they get picked.
UFC Bends the Rules on Bonuses Sometimes
Tony Ferguson's $75k Bonus
At a UFC 262 press conference, Tony Ferguson would ask Dana White for a bigger bonus for this event.
Ferguson would say:
'You know, everything is bigger in Texas, Dana, right?’ Right, you remember that? He said, ‘How about a bigger bonus?’ So, I’m going to ask you, Dana. Since we are here, like last time, can we have a bigger bonus this time?
Ferguson would get his wish as White would raise the bonus for that event from the normal $50,000 to $75,000.
$100k+ Bonuses at Multiple Events
Prior to 2012 (when the UFC adopted the $50,000 amount, which we cover below), the UFC had notably given out the following bonuses at the following events:
- $129,000 at UFC 129 - Lyoto Machida, Pablo Garza, Jose Aldo and Mark Honinick
- $100,000 at UFC 100 -Yoshihiro Akiyama, Alan Belcher, Dan Henderson and Tom Lawlor
Multiple athletes earned those amounts at each of those events.
All of the Bonuses that the UFC Has Had
In the past, there was no set amount for bonuses.
Bonuses could range anywhere from $20,000 - $120,000, but in 2012, the UFC announced that all bonuses would be $50,000 from that point forward.
Performance of the Night
Awarded to athletes who put on the best and most exciting performances.
Fight of the Night
Awarded to each competitor who participated in the best fight of the evening.
This award is given to two fighters, the pair of fighters who fought each other for that fight.
Knockout of the Night & Submission of the Night
The UFC used to have a 'Knockout of the Night' and 'Submission of the Night' bonus, however that was discontinued in 2014.
Instead, the UFC adopted the 'Performance of the Night' bonus, to replace those bonuses.
Locker Room Bonus
During the ownership days of the Fertitta brothers, the locker room bonuses were a common practice.
A locker room bonus was essentially a bonus that was given to the fighter in the locker room after their fight, or even days after their fight.
Daniel Cormier's Locker Room Bonus
Daniel Cormier would say that when he fought Jon Jones, his contract was $80,000 to show, and $80,000 to win.
After he lost the fight, he would be disappointed that he lost half of his purse, only to have Dana White call him the next day to let him know he did a great job, and he'll be receiving a $1 million check.
Anthony Pettis's Locker Room Bonus
Pettis would explain on Ariel Helwani's MMA hour show, that he also receive a $1 million check through a FedEx package.
The craziest part about this, is that he actually got this twice for two different fights.