The UFC has announced major changes to its Fight Night bonus structure effective immediately. While the Fight of the Night bonus will remain in place and will still earn the respective combatants $50,000 apiece, the Knockout of the Night and Submission of the Night bonuses are no more.
Instead the promotion is opting for what they are calling two Performance of the Night bonuses that will be doled out following each major live event. The cash amount of $50,000 will still be the same, but the distinction will go to the two fighters who were deemed to have delivered the best and most exciting individual performances on the card.
Interestingly enough, the announcement follows on the heels of a less than stellar UFC 169 event on Super Bowl weekend in New Jersey. 10 of the 12 fights on the card went to a decision, and there was no fight that was ended by submission. As a result, no submission bonus was rendered.
Also bear in mind that top UFC officials including CEO Lorenzo Fertitta, as well as fighters including light heavyweight champion Jon Jones and Glover Teixeira, were recently on Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C. showing their full support for the Cleveland Clinic’s Professional Fighters Brain Health Study. A Performance of the Night bonus sounds much more politically correct than awarding a Knockout of the Night bonus to a fighter who knocks a fellow competitor senseless.
The final competitor to earn a Knockout of the Night bonus under the old system was Abel Trujillo for his second-round stoppage of Jamie Varner in what was also the Fight of the Night. The organization began handing out the KO and Submission bonuses back in 2006. Longtime former middleweight champion Anderson Silva and lightweight Joe Lauzon led the pack in producing 12 Fight Night bonuses inside the Octagon under the previous system.
This new structure takes away from the previous non-drama of knowing who would be winning awards if there was only one knockout or submission on an entire card. It will also make sure fighters receive bonuses even at events where there may have been no knockouts or submissions produced.
To use UFC 169 for example, with this new system there would have seen a fighter earning one of the Performance of the Night bonuses rather than see no money doled out because there wasn’t a submission on the card.
Also, if there are multiple knockouts or submissions for UFC officials to have to choose from, there is the wiggle room to reward two fighters for their efforts instead of the traditional one. Two fighters producing spectacular knockouts could conceivably earn Performance of the Night bonuses, and the same holds true if there were two slick submissions.
The excitement component seems to be the key to the wording of this announcement. The new system comes into play for this weekend’s Fight Night 36 event in Brazil. That card is headlined by a pivotal middleweight matchup between Lyoto Machida and Gegard Mousasi.
Rick LaFitte is an MMA Writer for Rant Sports