Do UFC Pay Bonuses for Knockouts and Submissions?

The UFC has evolved since the accusations of barbaric action in its early years to one of the biggest sports organisations in the world. As mixed martial arts continues to grow as a sport, the UFC remains the go-to promotion to watch the best on the planet compete. It’s where you can see the best knockouts, submissions and tactical battles, all inside the Octagon.

But, sometimes it can feel as though there isn’t as much action as you would expect from two fighters with often contrasting styles duking it out. That’s where the UFC has a little trick up its sleeve to give fighters some incentive to put on a show.

Fighters are financially motivated to put on a good show for the fans with bonuses, but what exactly are the bonuses in the UFC? Let’s take a closer look at how UFC fighters can earn more money through performance-related bonuses.

How Do Post-Fight UFC Bonuses Work?

Throughout much of the UFC’s history, fighters have been given the incentive to put on a good show. Today, fighters are awarded $50,000 post-fight bonuses for Fight of the Night and Performance of the Night. In the past, bonuses were also awarded for Knockout and Submission of the Night.

The Fight of the Night bonus was first awarded in 2006 at UFC Fight Night 3. Melvin Guillard and Josh Neer were awarded the inaugural bonus, thanks to Neer’s first-round victory by triangle choke.

The first fighter to be awarded the Submission of the Night award was Dan Christison at UFC Fight Night 4, also in 2006. Christison won via armbar submission in the third round earning both the Submission of the Night and Fight of the Night.

The UFC debuted its Knockout of the Night bonus at The Ultimate Fighter 3 Finale, as middleweight Luigi Fioravanti defeated Solomon Hutcherson with a KO punch in round one.

Types of UFC Bonuses

Today, there are two types of UFC bonus; Performance of the Night and Fight of the Night. Previously, there were two other UFC post-fight bonuses; Knockout of the Night and Submission of the Night. In 2014, Knockout and Submission of the Night would be replaced by Performance of the Night.

UFC Fight of the Night Bonus

The UFC Fight of the Night bonus is awarded to the two fighters who put on the most entertaining bout on the card. This could be because it was an all-action contest where the balance shifted back and forth, or the technical skills on show were of high quality.

UFC Performance of the Night Bonus

The UFC Performance of the Night bonus was introduced in 2014. It is awarded to the fighter who puts on the best individual performance on the card. This bonus is awarded for exciting or technically superior performances and can be given to more than one fighter in an event.

UFC Knockout Bonus (Discontinued)

Quite simply, the UFC Knockout of the Night bonus was awarded to the fighter who had the most impressive, exciting or technical knockout on any given card. It was discontinued in 2014 and became part of the Performance of the Night bonus instead.

Perhaps it won’t surprise many people who have followed the UFC throughout its rise to the top that Anderson Silva has won the most Knockout of the Night bonuses. The Brazilian middleweight was a one-man highlight reel during the peak of his career. His seven Knockout of the Night bonuses will remain as the greatest of all time, unless the award is reinstated by the UFC in the future.

UFC Submission Bonus (Discontinued)

The UFC Submission of the Night bonus was also discontinued in 2014 when the Performance of the Night bonus was created. It was awarded to the fighter who scored the best submission victory on a card. As always, excitement and technical skill were the main considerations for doling out the bonus.

The fighter with the most UFC Submission of the Night bonuses is the long-time lightweight contender Joe Lauzon. Considering Lauzon’s proficiency in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, it’s not a huge shock to discover him as an excellent submission artist. Lauzon’s six Submission of the Night bonuses are enough to put him at the top of the pile, just one ahead of Nate Diaz.

Do UFC Pay Bonuses for Knockouts?

UFC fighters get a win bonus, regardless of the method. That means that UFC fighters do not necessarily get paid anything out of the ordinary for knockouts. However, if the knockout proves to be exciting or technically impressive enough, they could win a Performance of the Night bonus.

An exciting knockout that brings the house down could still see a UFC fighter enjoy a big payday. They can potentially earn a Fight of the Night and Performance of the Night bonus on top of their contracted pay.

Who Has the Most UFC Bonuses? 

FighterFight of the NightKnockout of the NightSubmission of the NightPerformance of the NightTotal
Charles Oliveira3031218
Donald Cerrone632718
Joe Lauzon716115
Nate Diaz815115
Anderson Silva572014
Jim Miller703313
Dustin Poirier701412
Tony Ferguson611311
Frankie Edgar810211
Chris Lytle613010

Last updated: 30 January 2022

Most UFC Bonuses – Women’s Divisions

FighterFight of the NightPerformance of the NightTotal
Jéssica Andrade448
Ronda Rousey257
Rose Namajunas336
Amanda Nunes055
Holly Holm224

Last updated: 30 January 2022

Most UFC Fight of the Night Bonuses

FighterFight of the Night
Nate Diaz8
Frankie Edgar8
Edson Barboza8
Joe Lauzon7
Jim Miller7
Dustin Poirier7

Last updated: 30 January 2022

Most UFC Performance of the Night Bonuses

FighterPerformance of the Night
Charles Oliveira12
Donald Cerrone7
Conor McGregor7
Ovince Saint Preux7
Stipe Miocic5
Ronda Rousey5

Last updated: 30 January 2022

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Connor Doyle

Connor is a journalist with several years of experience in the industry covering sport, entertainment, cars and the environment. Football is Connor's main passion. Thanks to the ups and downs of supporting Liverpool FC, he knows how to appreciate the good times when they roll in!

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