In what seems a lifetime ago now, the UFC tried their first foray into fan voting for performance bonuses. The event was UFC 124, and despite a one-sided jab-heavy performance in the main event, Georges St-Pierre and Josh Koscheck walked away $100,000 richer.
It’s no surprise to anyone who’s ever seen an NBA All Star game, considering GSP was far and away the most popular fighter on the card. Yet, the somewhat foreseeable result quickly convinced UFC president Dana White to drop the whole concept.
“No, they blew it tonight,” White told the assembled media after the event, when asked if the promotion would try their fan voting experiment again in the future.
Time heals all wounds, however. And more than a decade later it looks like the UFC is going to give the interactive fan experience another spin. That’s thanks to their recent partnership with Crypto.com, who the UFC has announced are offering up $60,000 in Bitcoin payouts, split between three fighters that fans choose following each PPV event.
The first place fighter will receive a $30,000 Bitcoin payout, with the second place vote-getter taking home $20,000, and third place receiving $10,000. This weekend’s UFC 273 PPV event in Jacksonville, FL will serve as the first run for the idea—with a recent press release announcing that the opportunity “will be awarded to the top three fighters appearing on each UFC Pay-Per-View.” No word yet on whether or not the promotion plans on expanding the process to their smaller Fight Night cards as well.
This bonus system will exist alongside the classic UFC ‘of the night’ $50,000 cash bonuses, awarded to the best ‘Fight of the Night, and the top two ‘Performances of the Night.’
“Crypto.com has been an official UFC partner for less than a year, and I’m telling you they are already one of the best partners we’ve ever had,” White said in a statement delivered alongside the press release. “They’re constantly coming up with new ideas about how we can work together to connect with the fans. This new Fan Bonus of the Night is an awesome way to get fans more engaged in our events while rewarding the fighters for bad-ass performances.”
UFC 273 takes place on Saturday, April 9th, at the Vystar Veterans Memorial Arena. The card is expected to be headlined by a featherweight title fight between Alexander Volkanovski & Chan Sung Jung. A bantamweight title fight rematch between Aljamain Sterling and Petr Yan is planned for the co-main event. A welterweight top contender’s bout between Gilbert Burns & Khamzat Chimaev will also appear on the PPV card. And if current fan interest is anything to go by, the UFC may as well set aside one of those bonuses for Chimaev right now.
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