FanPost

RE: Luke Rockhold's comment on fight bonuses - A Of The Night bonuses breakdown

In his UFC 278 fight week media appearance Luke Rockhold took issue with (amongst other items) the stagnation in the Of The Night bonus monetary value. Rockhold notes that the bonuses have been at $50,000 for the past decade or as he put it - "stuck in this motherf—ker for f—king 20 f—king years". So I decided to breakdown the UFC's Of The Night bonuses to have a better understanding of Rockhold's gripe. The following totals will include all events up to UFC 278 - Aug 13 2022.

Yearly Totals

YEAR TOTAL FIGHT OF THE NIGHT PERFORMANCE OF THE NIGHT SUBMISSION OF THE NIGHT KNOCK OUT OF THE NIGHT
2022 $6,700,000 (134) $2,400,000 (48) $4,300,000 (86)
2021 $9,300,000 (182) $3,400,000 (66) $5,900,000 (116)
2020 $8,350,000 (168) $2,850,000 (58) $5,500,000 (110)
2019 $8,400,000 (168) $3,400,000 (68) $5,000,000 (100)
2018 $7,800,000 (157) $3,450,000 (70) $4,350,000 (87)
2017 $7,700,000 (156) $3,250,000 (66) $4,450,000 (90)
2016 $8,200,000 (164) $3,500,000 (70) $4,700,000 (94)
2015 $8,150,000 (164) $3,100,000 (62) $5,050,000 (102)
2014 $9,100,000 (183) $4,150,000 (84) $4,600,000 (92) $150,000 (3) $200,000 (4)
2013 $6,775,000 (132) $3,455,000 (68) $1,460,000 (28) $1,860,000 (36)
2012 $6,785,000 (123) $3,290,000 (60) $1,670,000 (30) $1,825,000 (33)
2011 $7,391,000 (107) $4,008,000 (56) $1,499,000 (23) $1,884,000 (28)
2010 $5,740,000 (100) $2,960,000 (50) $1,425,000 (26) $1,355,000 (24)
2009 $4,405,000 (86) $2,420,000 (48) $930,000 (18) $1,055,000 (20)
2008 $3,740,000 (79) $1,900,000 (40) $890,000 (19) $950,000 (20)
2007 $2,840,000 (77) $1,470,000 (40) $735,000 (20) $635,000 (17)
2006 $1,590,000 (53) $900,000 (30) $390,000 (13) $300,000 (10)
TOTALS $112,966,000 (2233) $49,903,000 (984) $43,850,000 (877) $9,149,000 (180) $10,064,000 (192)

Since 2006 the UFC has handed out $113 million in bonuses to 2233 recipients. 2014 seen the most bonuses handed out with 183 and 2021 handing out the most bonus money with $9.3 million. The 6 years between the two mention high points, 2015 to 2020, sees the bonuses stagnate at an average $8.1 million to 163 recipients each year.

Yearly Median

Year MEDIAN BONUS NUMBER OF BONUSES ABOVE MEDIAN* EVENTS WITH MORE THAN 4 BONUS RECIPIENTS MOST BONUSES IN SINGLE EVENT
2022 $50,000 0 7 UFC on ESPN: Kattar vs. Emmett - 11 bonuses
2021 $50,000 8** 5 UFC 269: Oliveira vs. Poirier - 8 bonuses
2020 $50,000 0 3 UFC on ESPN: Whittaker vs. Till - 6 bonuses
2019 $50,000 0 0 42 Events with 4 bonus recipients
2018 $50,000 0 1 UFC Fight Night: Hunt vs. Oleinik - 5 bonuses
2017 $50,000 0 1 UFC 217: Bisping vs. St-Pierre - 5 bonuses
2016 $50,000 0 0 41 Events with 4 bonus recipients
2015 $50,000 0 0 41 Events with 4 bonus recipients
2014 $50,000 0 0 45 Events with 4 bonus recipients
2013 $50,000 15 2 UFC Fight Night: Shogun vs. Sonnen - 6 bonuses
2012 $60,000 59 1 The Ultimate Fighter: Live Finale - 5 bonuses
2011 $70,000 40 1 UFC 139: Shogun vs. Henderson - 6 bonuses
2010 $60,000 42 4 UFC 116: Lesnar vs. Carwin - 6 bonuses
2009 $60,000 25 3 The Ultimate Fighter: United States vs. United Kingdom Finale - 8 bonuses
2008 $50,000 39 0 19 Events with 4 bonus recipients
2007 $40,000 8 1 The Ultimate Fighter: Team Hughes vs. Team Serra Finale - 6 bonuses
2006 $30,000 0 2 UFC 63: Hughes vs. Penn - 6 bonuses

*Not counting double bonuses due to rescinded bonuses
**UFC 262 and UFC 264 ups bonus amounts because of fighter request

The median bonus amount has been $50,000 since 2014 with only two events UFC 262 and UFC 264 having handed out bonus amounts greater than $50,000. 2011 had the highest median with $70,000, a year that handed out $7.4 million to 107 recipients.

Typically the UFC hands out four bonuses per event, two to the 2 fighters in the fight of the night and two to 2 fighters considered to have had the performances of the night. Occasionally the UFC may feel generous and hand out more than 4 bonuses, a trend that has ramped up over the past 2 years. In 2022 the UFC has handed out more than 4 bonuses on 7 separate fight cards, already topping any other year just seven months into 2022. UFC Austin had the most with 11 fighters receiving bonuses, $550,000 in total for the event - almost 3 times the typical amount.

Bonus Amount Breakdown

BONUS COUNT
$20,000 8
$25,000 26
$30,000 123
$35,000 4
$40,000 112
$45,000 4
$50,000 1610
$55,000 12
$60,000 81
$65,000 88
$70,000 54
$75,000 66
$80,000 4
$85,000 4
$100,000 17
$129,000 4
$160,000 2
Rescinded 14

Of the over two thousand bonuses handed out since 2006 a majority have been for 50 thousand dollars. Those 1610 bonuses accounts for 72% of all bonuses.

Top Bonus earners

RANK FIGHTER BONUSES RECEIVED BONUS MONEY RECEIVED
1 Donald Cerrone 18 $1,010,000
2 Charles Oliveira 18 $920,000
3 Joe Lauzon 15 $750,000
4 Nate Diaz 15 $735,000
5 Anderson Silva 14 $720,000
6 Jim Miller 13 $645,000
7 Dustin Poirier 12 $605,000
8 Tony Ferguson 11 $550,000
9 Frankie Edgar 11 $530,000
10 Edson Barboza 10 $625,000
TOTALS 137 $7,090,000

Donald Cerrone and Charles Oliveira are the top bonus earners each with 18 with Cerrone totaling $1.01 million in bonuses and Oliveira totaling $920 thousand. Of the top 10 bonus earners there is 1 current champion and 4 former UFC Champions and/or Intern Champions.

For a corporation that has doubled its revenues to a now estimate billion dollars a year, the UFC should be able to afford to increase the less than $10 million a year to the fighters in bonuses. Though the likely hood of the fighters get more from the UFC is slim when just this month Dana White said the fighters "get paid what they’re supposed to get paid". In the end if fighters can't make a living while fighting for the UFC they can always become YouTubers or "dancers"

The above data was collected and calculated by myself and I keep a record of like stats at WorkShyIndividual.com. If there is any errors or omissions please let me know

\The FanPosts are solely the subjective opinions of Bloody Elbow readers and do not necessarily reflect the views of Bloody Elbow editors or staff.