Recent trends have shown that the average number of decisions per UFC card are rising. While more decisions may not itself be suggestive of a less exciting fight card, fight fans usually prefer flash finishes from flying knees, spinning back fists, or limb snapping arm bars.
Some would say that fear of getting cut should motivate a fighter. However for many fighters in the UFC losing just one time can make a fighter rethink their strategy. Just one loss can force a fighter to play it safe and grind out an uneventful win. Considering that fifty percent of the fighters on a card will lose their fight (Duh, right?!), every single time an event comes to a close, there are a about a dozen athletes afraid of losing one more fight and getting cut.
Dana White has specifically said that he will not cut fighters who go out and give it their all regardless of their losing streak. Many fighters especially on the lower end of the card though are not willing to jeopardize a consistent paycheck in search of a stoppage when one more loss could mean a pink slip. So what’s the answer? There will never be a perfect answer for such a subjective question. However, here is an idea that may help.
Fighter contracts are usually structured in two tiers. These two tiers are generally a show purse and a win purse. While there are also awards for Fight of the Night and Performance bonuses, they are not guaranteed. Sometimes fighters who think they are a shoe in for the award with awesome early card performances; they can sometimes be overshadowed and lose out on an award to a higher profile fighter. This problem is still prevalent even after the bonuses were restructured.
The recommendation is this: Restructure fighter pay into three tiers.
Tier One is the Show Purse. This is the fighters pay for making weight and making it into the cage.
Tier Two is the Win Purse. If the Fighter wins by any fashion, they are paid this bonus.
Tier Three: is the Stoppage Purse. The winning fighter receives this bonus if the Referee waives off the contest for a legal knockout, submission, or tap out.
Adding a third tier to fighter contracts that rewards them for earning a stoppage may be just the thing needed to encourage fighters to go the extra mile and pour their heart out in the cage. While this bonus will not alleviate the fear of getting cut from consecutive losses, it may be enough to encourage fighters to forego the safe route and go for the stoppage.
Fighters who are constantly working and looking for a knockout or submission tend to put on exciting fights. Exciting fights lead to increased viewership. Increased viewership makes Dana White and Company happy. When the boss is happy, everyone is happy!