The Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC)—the world's marquee professional mixed martial arts competition—is set to pay fighter bonuses in via a partnership with crypto exchange Crypto.com.
The organization will dole out Bitcoin payouts to the top three fighters on every UFC pay-per-view event. A spokesperson for Crypto.com told Decrypt the exchange, a UFC sponsor, is supplying the bonuses, not UFC.
Fan votes will determine the three fighters, and those selected will split a total sum of $60,000 worth of the flagship cryptocurrency.
According to a statement released by Crypto.com, $30,000 worth of Bitcoin will be given to the first place, $20,000 to second place, and $10,000 to third place.
"Crypto.com has been an official UFC partner for less than a year, and I'm telling you they are already one of the best partners we've had. They're constantly coming up with new ideas about how we can work together to connect with the fans," UFC president Dana White said in a prepared statement.
This is not the first time Crypto.com has entered the sports marketing world. In November 2021, the exchange made headlines after forking over $700 million for naming rights to the LA Lakers' stadium.
In turn, this is not the first time the UFC has dabbled in the world of crypto, either.
The UFC and crypto
In April last year, the organization signaled its intent to get involved in NFTs when it filed two patent applications.
The first was a trademark to launch a UFC-branded cryptocurrency, and the second aimed to provide an app for the UFC's would-be native cryptocurrency.
"Downloadable software which provides members to receive, access, spend, trade and manage cryptocurrency, digital currency, digital tokens, non-fungible tokens, digital collectibles and digital assets," the application read.
One month earlier, the then-UFC heavyweight champion Francis Ngannou made $580,000 from an NFT collaboration—a figure greater than his guaranteed fight purse for his bout with Stipe Miocic at UFC 260.