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Joe Rogan once again trashes MMA’s win bonuses: ‘I just don’t think it’s fair’

The veteran UFC broadcaster is not a fan of win bonuses.

Joe Rogan accused the referee in the Tyson Fury vs. Deontay Wilder 3 fight of corruption Photo by Douglas P. DeFelice/Getty Images

Unlike boxing, it is common practice in MMA to have a fighter’s purse split into base/win. You have your guaranteed purse regardless of the result, and usually you can double it if you actually come away with a victory.

Longtime UFC analyst Joe Rogan would like to see that model go away.

On his “Joe Rogan Experience” podcast, Rogan expressed his dislike for win bonuses, specifically citing how poor MMA judging can impact pay.

“First of all, if you’re going to do a win bonus, you’ve got to do something about the judging,” Rogan said (via MMA Junkie). “You need to have a better scoring system and you need to get rid of incompetence. Then, when you go to other states, you need to take control of the situation. Yes: In other states it’s dire. I don’t want to name states, but there have been states where we do fights where I’m just going, ‘Who watched that fight? How is that even possible?’ People just get (expletive) robbed.

“If you have win bonuses (and) if a guy comes in and gets 50, and if he wins he gets another 50, you stole $50,000 from that guy by giving him incompetent judging. If you’re a fighter, you’ve got to do your best to win. If that means taking a guy down and hump and throw enough punches to keep the referee from standing it up, that’s $50,000 for you.”

An argument in favor of win bonuses is that it can incentivize fighters to perform at their best, although there’s no real evidence that proves this actually works.

This is not the first time Rogan has spoken out on this very topic; he made similar remarks on his show back in 2018, but obviously the structure remains the same. If there’s any bonus that he is in favor of, it’s finish bonuses.

“I don’t think (win bonuses) incentivize those guys,” Rogan said. “At the top level? Have you ever tried to not win? … I think finish bonuses is not a bad idea. But I think it should be a bonus – not half of your (expletive) purse. I would at least like to see someone come along with an alternative take on how fighters are paid, and we haven’t really seen that.”

In theory, a wacky scenario could see an entire UFC show filled with draws and no contests, meaning neither fighter gets their win bonus. As fighter pay continues to be a hot-button issue in MMA, it’ll surely take a lot more than Joe Rogan’s musings for the sport’s top promoters to restructure their purses.