After years of handing out the Knockout of the Night and Submission of the Night awards following each and every UFC event, the promotion has decided to do things a bit differently from here on out. Instead of handing out a KOTN and SOTN award, the UFC will instead hand out two Performance of the Night awards that will go to the two fighters on a UFC card that put on the best individual performances regardless of method of victory. The Fight of the Night bonus, however, stays intact as per usual. Here’s the statement the UFC released on Tuesday regarding the change in policy:
“The Ultimate Fighting Championship announced today a modification to its live event bonuses. Effective immediately, UFC will award Fight of the Night bonuses to each of the fighters in the best fight of the night, as well as additional Performance of the Night bonuses to the two best individual performances on the card. The bonus amounts will remain $50,000. The Performance of the Night bonuses will reward the athletes who put on the best and most exciting individual performances.”
The first event which will feature this change in policy is UFC Fight Night 36, which takes place this weekend in Brazil. It’s an interesting move by the UFC to make this small change, and while I’m a traditionalist who will miss guessing who will win KOTN and SOTN on every card, it makes sense to hand out two Performance of the Night awards instead because sometimes cards don’t feature each method of finish. Look at UFC 169, for example — there were no submissions on the whole card, and no one won that award (although Abel Trujillo and Jamie Varner got more for their FOTN because of that). So, if this change puts more money in the fighters’ pockets, then I’m all for it, even if the UFC should be paying them more anyways, although that’s a different story for a different time. As far as how this will effect betting, Several Bookmakers will no longer offer props on correctly selecting the winners of Knockout of Night and Submission of the Night. There’s no confirmation yet, but it’s more than likely Several Bookmakers will offer bets on picking the Performance of the Night winner. The Fight of the Night prop, as stated earlier, won’t be affected by this change. We’ll see what sort of difference in fighter attitudes towards finishing fights this change of policy brings, but if it leads to more exciting fights, I’m all for it. And hey, while the UFC is changing the way they handle the post-fight bonus awards, why not offer a $5,000 bonus to any fighter on any card who gets a finish? The promotion offers this bonus on TUF, so why not in the actual UFC? If the goal of the promotion is to encourage fighters to take more risks, then this should be something the organization should consider doing in the future, as it would likely lead to more finishes which, in turn, leads to more fans watching the fights. Basically, a win-win situation for all involved.