Quoting Dana White, to “MMAjunkie.com”
"You don't like the structure? All right, we'll pay the lower-level guys more money – no more f***ing bonuses. You guys come in, you negotiate your contracts, and we do away with all bonuses. That's what I'm thinking about doing. The bonuses are something we've been doing out of the kindness of our f****ing heart, it was something we liked to do. Apparently, people don't like it. They want the lower-level guys to get paid more money."
"At the last press conference (UFC 162), I told the press we're not doing away with the fight-night bonuses, after I said I got a lot of feedback. The fighters want the bonuses and they want the discretionary bonuses to stay the same. So that's that."
In a tad more than 2 weeks, UFC president Dana White has gone from threatening to become the “bonus Nazi” (no bonus for you) and dispensing away with the convention of handing out post-fight cash bursaries for feat of the night performances and has instead, decided to maintain the status-quo.
In looking at it, it’s hard to believe that White was ever (really) serious about ending fighter bonuses and that the whole thing seemed to be more the reaction of a King who had been told an ugly truth, as opposed to it being a legitimatel methodology for dealing with the issue.
White said that he reversed himself, because he “got a lot of feedback.” Fair enough. However, Dana mentioned nothing in the way of numbers when discussing the feedback, nor has he offered up any of the names of the respondents.
I think it would be a reasonable deduction regarding feedback, that fighters who are earning the bonuses are positive and those that are unhappy with their earnings minus any bonuses, are either giving no feedback or recanting their previous statements; public or private. Subsequently, there is probably no negative feedback.
The net result is this, that with 2 weeks and 1 threat and as backed-up by his own (reinforcing) empirical data, White is implying that the (majority) of the fighters are happy with the status-quo and that for all-intents-and-purposes, it's the fighters themselves who have resolved the issue and not White, by decree.
As we are unaware of how much money is doled out by White in the locker-room or in any side deals, it’s hard to make a definitive call on fighter pay and whether or not it’s fair.
However, what can be said is this that if there was a problem then there still is, for nothing has changed. Second, as there are more fighters than bonuses and not everyone is getting financial pats-on-the-back in the locker-room, then I fail to see how the “a lot of feedback” could have been either universal in its praise, nor how it could have been the majority view of the fighters.