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Arizona joins Nevada, Florida among commissions no longer releasing fighter payouts

Transparency on fighter pay continues to dwindle.

Ryan Bader punches Valentin Moldavsky at Bellator 273 in Arizona.
Ryan Bader punches Valentin Moldavsky at Bellator 273 in Arizona.
Bellator MMA

It feels like only a few months ago that the state of Arizona was one of the few places in the United States where combat sports purses were made public upon request.

Oh wait, that was October.

Well we’re in 2022 and that’s no longer the case.

If you were hoping for Bellator 273 purse info from last Saturday’s card in Phoenix, MMA Junkie’s Nolan King found out firsthand there’s been a change in commission policy.

Two years ago, Nevada stopped reporting fighter payouts under a new confidentiality agreement. The NSAC commissioner who supported amending statute 467.1005 was Staci Alonso, who formerly worked for the Fertitta-owned Station Casinos and whose brother-in-law was a UFC lobbyist as recently as 2019.

Last year in the lead-up to UFC 261, it was learned that Florida was done disclosing fighter purses because it was deemed a “trade secret” by the UFC. Efforts by the UFC to lobby Florida into limiting the disclosures of fighter purses in Florida stretched as far back as 2014.

It’s not known why Arizona stopped retaining purse information on combat sports, but this does come after the state hosted two major Bellator cards and one UFC event over the past several months. The UFC has only been to Arizona five times, and last year’s UFC 263 was the first pay-per-view in the state. They’ll also have a DAZN main event this weekend between Carlos Cuadras and Jesse ‘Bam’ Rodriguez for the WBC super-flyweight title.

Most athletic commissions in the United States do not disclose purses, and of course not everything written on the pay sheet represents the accurate sum. California, Georgia and Ohio still do release pay info, but only California is a major fight hub on a yearly basis. Considering there are far more major boxing shows in California than MMA, and there are rules in place in boxing that allow for fighter pay to be more widely known and disseminated through reputable journalists, the transparency (or some semblance of it) on MMA fighter pay is trending closer to nil by the minute.