UFC is at the apex of mixed martial arts. Its icons are worshipped with the blood sport gaining audiences at a global level. Oddsmakers have jumped on the bandwagon and lines open as soon as a match is announced.
Betting is not prohibited in UFC circles and fighters can place bets on their fights to spice up their take home earnings. The organization does have a code of conduct policy in place to ensure the sport is not brought into disrepute.
Rhonda Rousey’s corner bet on her. Rashad Evans did it. Ricco Rodgriguez bet on himself to earn in the whereabouts of half a million dollar in his upset win over Randy Couture. Fighters can bet on themselves.
In this article, we will talk about gambling’s place in UFC, how the sport tackles this differently from boxing. We will also discuss how fighters make money and do they get money if they lose, along with tackling questions about complimentary tickets. So, without further adieu, let’s begin!
Are UFC Fighters Allowed to Bet on Themselves?
The UFC Fighter Conduct Policy does not deal directly with betting. Still, it requires its fighters to behave in a legal, ethical, and responsible manner so that they do not bring the organization into disrepute.
In essence, fighters can bet on themselves; however, there are ethical problems attached to it. Ronda Rousey’s corner regularly bet on her to win. It allowed them to pad their winnings from the bout.
It seems, one is allowed to bet on themselves or have those close to them gamble on their win. It becomes sketchy when bets with specific details are put in with respect to the bout. In 2014, Norman Parke bet on himself to win in the second round through a finish against Naoyuki Kotani. This raises questions whether Parke deliberately prolonged the match and did he knowingly drag the game into the second round, given his extra stake.
While Parke won his 2014 bet, Rashad Evans did not enjoy the same luck when he took on Lyoto Machida in UFC 98. Machida secured a Round 2 TKO to add insult to injury.
Based on UFC’s Fighter Conduct Policy, it can be gauged that there are no direct prohibitions for betting on oneself as long as the fight and organization’s reputation is not put under threat.
Can UFC Fighters Bet Against Themselves?
UFC is relaxed in its approach to betting and allows it, many sports do not. National Football League and Major League Baseball have made an example out of those who are involved in it. The fight game is different, and UFC is still in its infancy as compared to other organizations.
Match odds are regularly discussed, and fighters weigh in on them as well. Moreover, fighters are allowed to put bets on other fighters. Diego Sanchez bet in favor of Tito Ortiz defeating Ryan Bader. It was a legal bet and is allowed. Betting is not condoned, and one can bet on themselves.
On the other hand, for UFC fighters, betting against themselves is not allowed. It can be viewed as throwing the fight and is a direct ethical violation of UFC’s Fighter Conduct Policy.
When fighters bet on the fight they are involved in; they risk not only their reputation but also that of the UFC.
This is a direct violation of fighting commission rules and is construed as illegal gambling behavior. UFC has come under criticism in the past for not having appropriate policies or measures in place. The Victorian Commission for Gambling and Liquor Regulation even refused to allow punting on UFC 193 as a result.
To clarify, there are examples of fighters and their corners betting on their matches. Ronda Rousey’s corner bet on her matches; they were straight-up money line bets in her favor and not on the other fighter. Betting against you is condoned and brings in serious repercussions.
There are loopholes in the system. While betting on outright match results is questionable, to say the least, fighters can bet on minute details, such as takedowns avoided, matches going the distance until a specific round, manner of defeat and victory, so on and so forth.
Do UFC Fighters Get Paid if They Lose?
The short and simple answer is, yes.
UFC fighters get paid if they lose. The fighters sign a contract that states their earnings from a particular fight. They get paid to make weight and fight their opponent.
There are incentives in the contract for wins. In addition, big stars also get a share of the gate and a slice of the pay-per-view revenue. Last but not least, there are sponsorship payouts from UFC’s deal with Reebok for Fight Night.
With the context of gambling and UFC stars, an anecdote about Ricco Rodriguez is worth a share here. Rodriguez stunned the MMA world when he defeated Randy Couture for the vacant UFC Heavyweight Championship title. For his fight against Couture, Ricco was a heavy underdog at around 5-1. He bet his $30,000 purse to show up and the expected $30,000 win bonus on himself. He won the match and made about half a million from his outing.
How Much Do UFC Fighters Get Paid if They Lose?
To understand how much UFC fighters get paid if they lose, one must know how the fight contracts were structured. Every fighter has a different contract with the UFC, and the details are different.
Details about Nate Diaz’s contract are available, and they share a fascinating insight. Before his fight with Conor McGregor, Diaz had a base salary of $20,000 and a $20,000 win bonus for his fight against Michael Johnson. By the time Diaz took on Anthony Pettis, his salary was $250,000. Interestingly, he did not have a win bonus against Pettis and, win or lose, was guaranteed the quarter-million purse.
This should reveal that how much a UFC fighter gets paid from a fight is dependent on the individual contract he has negotiated. Recently Dustin Porier negotiated himself out of a fight against Tony Ferguson. There are rumors of a Porier vs. McGregor rematch, with the winner taking on Khabib Nurmagomedov in his final UFC fight.
Porier, McGregor, and Ferguson bring up another interesting facet of fighter payments. These superstars have huge followings, and they tap into their star status. Irrespective of the result, the big names are able to negotiate chunks of gate receipts and pay-per-view shares. Besides, losing fighters also stand to earn $50,000 if their bout is selected as Fight of the Night.
For more information, check out the article on how much exactly do UFC fighters earn.
Do UFC Fighters Get Free Tickets?
Fighters on the night card get tickets. In addition, guest fighters also get tickets. If you are on the payroll of UFC but not in these two categories for the night, you have to ask the organization for tickets.
It is not certain that you will get tickets if you ask for them. Dana White has the final say on if you can get tickets and how much can be spared. No one gets free/complimentary tickets automatically. There are over 620 fighters on the UFC roster and it is not possible to have complimentary tickets for every one of them for each fight card.
Can Boxers Bet on Themselves?
Like MMA, boxing does not have specific rules but is governed by the different state athletic commissions. The Nevada Athletic Commission does not have anything specifically condoning it, but since sports betting is allowed in the state of Nevada, a fighter can place a bet on the outcome of his fight.
However, it is not looked upon favorably. Flloyd Mayweather Jr caused controversy when he stated that he will bet on himself against Conor McGregor. It is not known whether he went ahead with the bet but he would not be alone had he done that. Bernard Hopkins, a former middleweight champion bet on himself to beat Felix Trinidad in 2001. He followed it up in 2006 and pocketed $250,000 when he beat Antonio Tarver.
Similarly, across the pond, British heavyweight David Haye caused controversy. Ahead of his fight against Audley Harrison, Haye claimed to have bet on himself to win the third round. The first two rounds were dull affairs before the result in favor of Haye in the third. This led to an investigation by British boxing authorities.
Betting brings the sport into disrepute when you bet on your rival. However, that was not the case when Irish boxer Steven Donnelly bet on his rival Tuvshinbat Byamba to win and then went on to defeat him.
To sum up, betting on oneself is allowed in boxing, however, it adds extra questions and scepticism about the nature of the sport. Match fixing and corruption are real dangers to any sport and boxing has had its fair share of misgivings.
Check out this article for more about betting in boxing.