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Old 09-05-2012, 09:48 PM
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Default Crunching Numbers: How Fairly Are Fight Bonuses Awarded?

From MMAFighting.com:

Quote:
Sep 2, 2012 - The UFC's stated fight bonus system is a noteworthy form of incentivization. For extraordinary performance, UFC fighters are able to considerably augment their pay with a Submission of the Night (SOTN), Knockout of the Night (KOTN) or Fight of the Night (FOTN) bonus. Sometimes the same fighter can win two of those bonuses on the same night. Best of all, any fighter on the card can win any of the awards. You don't have to be a world champion at the top of the card to take home extra cash on a UFC fight night.

Or do you?

After going over the data, it appears you do. Or, at least, it helps quite a bit. The truth of the UFC's stated fight bonus system is that while everyone at every level can and has won, the most dramatic impact on your likelihood of earning bonus money has little to do with performance.

Before we get into which factor is the biggest determinant in being awarded bonuses, let's take a look at the kind of fighter who wins UFC fight bonuses. The numbers below are some of the statistics based on the top 20 bonus earners in UFC history:

1. 62.4% winning percentage
2. Average fight time of 11:08 (UFC average = 9:34)
3. 3.14 significant strikes landed per minute (UFC average = 2.61)
4. 7.81 significant strikes attempted per minute (UFC average = 6.2)
5. 61.7% of their significant strikes are landed at distance (UFC average = 56.4%)
6. 17.6% of their significant strikes are landed in the clinch (UFC average = 20.3%)
7. 20.7% of their significant strikes are landed on the ground (UFC average = 23.3%)
8. They absorb 2.85 significant strikes per minute (UFC average = 2.61)
9. 1.08 sub attempts per 15 minutes (UFC average = 0.91)

Generally speaking, the numbers tell us these fighters are better than average. They take a little longer to fight. They land 17% more strikes than average and attempt 20% more strikes than average. They're also hit more. Their strikes take place more at distance rather than in close. They throw strikes standing a tiny bit more than the ground. They also attempt more submissions.

While this data is important for understanding the complexion of the fighters who win bonuses, the biggest contributor in determining who wins bonuses has little to do with the above. In fact, if you really want to see how bonuses are handed out, look where a fighter's bout is on the card.

In terms of the FOTN bonus, we see the biggest concentration of winners around the main event and main card with a near one-to-one correlation of bout position (1 is the main event, 2 is the co-main, etc.) and the number of times a fighter in that space has won that specific bonus. Here is how the numbers shake out:

1. 45
2. 27
3. 22
4. 20
5. 24
6. 12
7. 17
8. 5
9. 5
10. 3
11. 1
12. 1

The vast majority of FOTN winners take place on the main card and the main event accounts for the plurality of them. The KOTN bonuses are spread out a bit more evenly over the distance of the card, but clearly pool around the main card:

1 35
2 26
3 23
4 18
5 16
6 12
7 10
8 11
9 5
10 10
11 4
12 1

The SOTN is where things get a touch more interesting. These bonuses are more likely to be won by fighters much further down the card. In fact, this is the only list where the main event is not the highest number:

1 20
2 21
3 19
4 17
5 18
6 21
7 17
8 11
9 9
10 10
11 4
12 1

Given these figures about the UFC's FOTN, KOTN and SOTN bonuses, I suggest there are three important takeaways:

1. It's understandable but not ok that FOTN bonuses concentrate around the main card and main event. Chances are, if you're a UFC fighter competing on the main card, you're there for a reason. You could be a champion defending your title or a fan favorite locked in a battle