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Joe Rogan didn't hold back on his two cents regarding the MMA win bonus structure.
On a recent episode of “The Joe Rogan Experience” podcast, conservation emerged around MMA win bonuses with guest and Bellator MMA heavyweight Josh Barnett. Rogan criticized the widely popular win bonus structure, which is used by most major promotions, including his employer, the UFC.
“Don’t you think there’s a problem in incentivizing people to just win because you have a win bonus?” Rogan said. “A win bonus, I do not like. I’ve said this from the beginning. I just don’t think it’s fair.”
A lot of Rogan's complaints boil down to a concern with inconsistent judging. Rogan explains that fighters can't guarantee that they'll get their bonus with a victory-worthy performance.
“First of all, if you’re going to do a win bonus, you’ve got to do something about the judging,” Rogan said. “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.”
While Rogan did not bring a solution to the issue to the table himself, he accepted Barnett’s suggestion of “finish bonuses” being implemented in place of win 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.”
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