Should the UFC implement bounty hunter contracts to incentivize fighters? This article explores a proposal by welterweight fighter Joaquin Buckley and discusses the potential benefits of valuing fighters based on their drawing power.
Joaquin Buckley, a welterweight fighter in the UFC, has proposed a unique idea to the organization’s brass. He believes that some fighters should have a bounty on their head, similar to bounty hunter contracts. According to Buckley, this would incentivize average fighters to try and get bigger paydays. In the world of MMA, the person with the best fighting and survival skills receives the championship title and has the opportunity to defend it against claimants. However, possessing the best skillset is no longer the only requirement for making significant amounts of money in the sport.
In today’s MMA landscape, fighters who draw the most attention and sell the most tickets have a higher chance of achieving financial success. This means that lesser-known fighters, even if they possess great fighting skills, may struggle to make a substantial income. Buckley’s proposal aims to address this issue by introducing a system where certain fighters are worth more to fight than others.
While the specifics of how a ‘bounty hunter’ contract would work are not explained in Buckley’s tweet, the underlying idea is clear. By assigning a higher value to certain fighters, the UFC can create more opportunities for average fighters to earn bigger paydays. This would not only benefit the fighters themselves but also add excitement and intrigue to the sport.
The concept of valuing fighters based on their drawing power is not entirely new. Throughout the history of MMA, there have been fighters who achieved commercial success even before winning championship titles. One notable example is Brock Lesnar, a former heavyweight champion and pro wrestling star. Lesnar’s crossover fan base from WWE played a significant role in his commercial success in MMA. Despite his relative inexperience, Lesnar consistently headlined or co-headlined PPV events and drew massive numbers of pay-per-view buys.
Conor McGregor is another fighter who took the MMA world by storm with his promotional skills. His ability to generate buzz and sell tickets elevated events like UFC 178 to new heights. Winning titles only further boosted McGregor’s commercial success.
In recent years, several fighters have emerged as revenue generators and event elevators. Nate Diaz, Jorge Masvidal, Khamzat Chimaev, Sean O’Malley, and Colby Covington are just a few examples. These fighters have proven that their presence on a card can attract more attention and contribute to the financial success of an event.
Implementing bounty hunter contracts in the UFC could level the playing field for lesser-known fighters. It would create opportunities for them to face high-value opponents and potentially earn life-changing amounts of money. Additionally, it would add an element of excitement and unpredictability to matchmaking, as fighters would be motivated to pursue the most lucrative fights.
While Joaquin Buckley’s proposal may require further discussion and refinement, it raises important questions about how fighters are valued in the UFC. By considering the drawing power and marketability of fighters, the organization can create a more equitable system that rewards skill and popularity. Ultimately, this could lead to a more vibrant and financially rewarding MMA landscape.