no contest ufc

What Does the NC (No Contest) Mean in the UFC?

Watching UFC fights, you can often hear or see a fight end with a so-called NC, or No Contest. What exactly does that mean?

The term “No Contest” abbreviated as “NC” is used in UFC (and MMA in general) when a fight ends for a reason outside the control of the fighters, without a winner or a loser.

“Reason outside the control of the fighters”; what exactly does that mean? In this article, I will thoroughly explain to you the concept of No Contest in the UFC, and later I will give you some examples of when the NC happened in a UFC fight.

What Causes “No Contest” in the UFC?

Since the Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) is a Mixed Martial Arts promotion, it follows similar rules for no contest as other MMA promotions. There is neither a winner nor a loser from a UFC fight that is deemed as a no contest.

Both fighters get an “NC” added to their professional record to show that they were involved in a fight that was deemed a no contest.

There are many reasons why a fight can be called a no contest. Here are some of the most common scenarios when fights are called no contest:

  • Accidental illegal strikes by a fighter resulting in injury/inability to continue
  • Interference by referee or non-participating member(s) of a fight
  • Accidental injury to any one of the fighters
  • Ring issues that make a fair fight impossible
  • Dishonest behavior of one or both fighters
  • Positive drug tests of one or both fighters

Do UFC Fighters Get Paid for No Contest?

UFC fighters get paid for no contest. They only get their show money as when No Contest occurs, there is no winner to get a win bonus money.

UFC has every fighter as an independent contractor whereby every fighter has a ‘show money’ which is the money that the fighter earns for making weight and fighting. There is also the ‘win money’ which is the money the fighter earns on winning the fight.

Sometimes a no contest fight can also be awarded a “Fight of the Night” bonus which gives a $50,000 bonus to both fighters of the fight.

At other times, in the case of drug test failures which are only reported after a fight, the fighter who failed the drug test might have won the fight and could have been awarded a “Performance of the Night” bonus of $50,000.

There are no clear indications if the UFC gets back the $50,000 bonus after the fight is declared a no contest.

Examples of No Contest in the UFC

There have been quite a few fights that have been declared as no contest in the UFC.

We’ll take a look at them and understand why they were deemed as no contest.

1. Gray Maynard vs Rob Emerson

‘The Ultimate Fighter’ 5 Finale bout between Gray Maynard and Rob Emerson ended in a no contest.

During the second round, Maynard got hold of Emerson slamming him to the ground with force.

Emerson tapped after the slam that injured his ribs.

However, during the process of hurting his opponent, Maynard had accidentally smashed his own head into the ring canvas and became unconscious.

This double TKO (Technical Knockout) was declared a no contest with neither the fighter winning or losing.

2. Anderson Silva vs Nick Diaz

Former UFC Middleweight Champion, Anderson Silva faced Nick Diaz in a middleweight bout that headlined UFC 183.

The fight went the entire five rounds it was scheduled and Silva was declared the winner by unanimous decision.

However, the pre-fight drug test of Silva was tested positive for steroids and Diaz was tested positive for marijuana.

The fight was called a no contest.

3. Brock Lesnar vs Mark Hunt

Former UFC Heavyweight Champion, Brock Lesnar, and Mark Hunt faced each other in a Heavyweight bout on the stacked UFC 200 card.

Lesnar won the fight by unanimous decision after avoiding Hunt’s heavy punches and using his superior wrestling skills on the ground.

However, after the fight, it was known that Lesnar tested positive for a banned substance and his win was revoked and the fight was called a no contest.

4. Eddie Alvarez vs Dustin Poirier

Former UFC Lightweight Champion, Eddie Alvarez faced Dustin Poirier in a lightweight fight in UFC 211 which ended in a no contest due to illegal strikes.

Alvarez was returning to the octagon after losing his title to Conor McGregor in UFC 205. Poirier had won 5 of his last 6 fights coming into the fight.

During the second round, Alvarez had Poirier up against the fence and landed three illegal knees to Poirier’s head. The third knee downed Poirier and the fight was stopped momentarily before calling it off as a no contest.

Had Alvarez intentionally kneed Poirier, it would have been a disqualification giving Poirier a win. However, since it was unintentional, the fight was called a no contest.

5. Daniel Cormier vs Jon Jones 2

The UFC 214 main event was a Light Heavyweight Championship fight between the then-reigning Light Heavyweight champion Daniel Cormier and top contender Jon Jones.

In the second bout of one of the most heated rivalries in UFC history, Jon Jones came out on top with a TKO finish in the third round to become the new UFC Light Heavyweight Champion.

However, the joy was short-lived when Jones’ pre-fight test came out positive for steroid use and hence the win was overturned into a no contest.

6. Greg Hardy vs Ben Sosoli

Greg Hardy used an inhaler in between rounds in his three-round fight in the Heavyweight division against Ben Sosoli in UFC on ESPN 6 that took place in Boston, Massachusetts.

A former NFL player, Hardy faced Sosoli who was making his UFC debut.

Even though Hardy was awarded a unanimous decision victory, the result was overturned after the use of the inhaler came to be known.

The decision was reversed into a no contest.

7. Yair Rodríguez vs Jeremy Stephens

The highly anticipated main event at UFC Fight Night 159 between Yair Rodriguez and Jeremy Stephens ended in a no contest due to an inadvertent eye poke from Rodriguez.

In the first round at only 15 seconds, as Rodriguez pushed away from Stephens after engaging with him, he accidentally poked Stephens in the eye.

Since Stephens’ eye could not open even after the 5-minute referee timeout, the fight was called off and declared as no contest.

What Happens if You Bet on a Fight and it’s a No Contest?

If a fight ends in a “no contest”, all stakes will be returned.

Is No Contest a Draw?

“No contest” is not a draw. A draw is a fight that went to distance (ended) and no clear winner was declared. A “no contest” fight is stopped before its completion.

Vladimir Vladisavljevic has been training in the art of kickboxing for over seven years, holds a Taekwondo black belt, and has a master's degree in sports and physical education. He's also a huge mixed martial arts fan. He's a big deal in Bulgaria as a mixed martial arts commentator, analyst, and podcaster.
Article by

Vladimir Vladisavljevic

Vladimir Vladisavljevic has a master's degree in sports and physical education. He has been training in kickboxing for over seven years and holds a Taekwondo black belt. He's also a huge mixed martial arts fan. Vladimir is a big deal in Bulgaria as a mixed martial arts commentator, analyst, and podcaster. He was known as The Bulgarian Cowboy in the Western world. In addition, he has a YouTube channel where he talks about his love of esports, one of the fastest-growing fields in the world. Our testing and reviewing method.
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