Every MMA fan loves to see a highlight reel knock out or a sublimely executed submission, but it is the epic duels that are remembered most. Ever since the now legendary TUF 1 finale between Forrest Griffin and Stephan Bonnar fight, fans have yearned for more of the same.
It cannot be understated what the Griffin/Bonnar fight did for the popularity of MMA and the UFC in particular. For those of you who don’t know, it wasn’t a KO or a submission that made the difference, it was the down right stunning 15 minute stand up war we witnessed that night that helped propel the UFC into the mainstream. Dana White and Zuffa will of course be eternally grateful to both of these men.
In the past year or so we have been fortunate enough to witness more of the same. Never before have we seen so many ‘greatest fight ever’ contenders in such a short space of time; Alvarez vs. Chandler 2, Hendricks vs. GSP, Hunt vs. Bigfoot, Jones vs. Gustaffson and Melendez vs. Sanchez. More recently we had Jamie Varner and Abel Trujillo battle it out in an unbelievable fight at UFC 169. Each one of those fights is the reason we watch MMA, and is the reason the current bonus system must be reviewed.
I applaud the implementation of knock out, submission and fight of the night bonus awards. Such bonuses are of course in place to help motivate fighters thus giving fans their money’s worth. There is no doubt a skillful submission, or a spectacular KO is a thing of beauty, however it is only a fight of the night spectacle that is really capable of giving fans pure, unadulterated, even historic action.
Let me be clear, we should not differentiate between a KO or submission of the night. Those bonuses should remain identical sums of money. However, I do believe that the fighters involved in an all out 15-25 minute toe to toe war should receive a much greater financial reward to someone that, in theory, throws only a few punches but scores a real sweet KO.
There is no doubt we have been spoiled this last year but we want more. We want more ‘greatest fight ever’ contenders; those are the fights that put a smile on our face, those are the fights that make the doubters sit up and take notice and those are the fights that gains MMA new fans.
I therefore urge the UFC and all the other fight promotions out there to award a significantly higher bonus for the fight of the night honors. These warriors truly deserve every dollar.