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Dana White gives a rare look at UFC’s discretionary bonuses

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Dana White gives a rare look at UFC’s discretionary bonuses

Regular UFC fans are well aware of the post-fight bonus system. Some more dedicated followers of the top MMA promotion might also have heard about discretionary bonuses that fighters have been given over the years.

But while the Fight of the Night and Performance of the Night recipients, announced at the completion of each event for standout efforts, take home an announced $50,000 each, little is known about the discretionary bonuses.

In speaking with The Post on Wednesday, Dana White opened up about a subject he typically does not discuss: money, in particular the sums that go out to his stable of fighters. That included shedding some light on the discretionary bonuses.

For most of the 41 events held in 2020, four $50,000 “of the Night” bonuses were handed out. Five were awarded on two occasions, and six were given at a particularly action-packed UFC on ESPN event in July headlined by middleweights Robert Whittaker and Darren Till. That adds up to a total of $8.4 million in announced bonus money.

But the UFC also told The Post that the total bonus payout for the pandemic-affected calendar year reached $18 million, including the previously-announced bonuses. That leaves $9.6 million left over.

White said that the general practice is that for “everybody who delivered on the card, I write a check” that ranges from $4,000 to $25,000 each, “depending on what I thought of their fight.”

“I’ll give you an example,” White said. “There will be a night where some crazy s–t happens throughout the whole card, and then we have to pick what we thought [were] the $50,000 [bonus recipients], but somebody else was right in the running. They could have got it too. And it depends, I’ll write them anywhere from $10,000 to $25,000.”

With 456 fights contested last year in the octagon — and two fighters per bout, of course — the average discretionary bonus comes out to about $10,526 per fighter, per fight. 

The announced bonus awards have been set at $50,000 since the start of 2013, when White said the UFC wanted to standardize the figure that had generally varied anywhere from $40,000 to $75,000 in 2011 and 2012; on three occasions in 2011, the amount reached or surpassed $100,000. 

White told MMA Junkie in 2013 the reason for standardizing the value of the bonuses, which he described as “a gift,” was in the spirit of fairness to fighters who weren’t scheduled on a night when a larger bonus sum was given out.

“It was fair to keep them straight all the way across so no matter what card you fight on, it’s the same bonus,” White said at the time, adding that “nobody ever complained about” the imbalance in the amounts from fight card to fight card.

Unlike Performance of the Night and Fight of the Night, the individual discretionary bonus allocation is not made public. Fighters themselves rarely bring up the practice, although on rare occasions they offer a snapshot into how these bonuses come about. After accidentally soiling herself during a 2017 loss to Felice Herrig, Justine Kish spoke of how White reached out the next day to check in, likely realizing what she referred to as “a little bit of humiliation behind what happened” and intimating there was an added bonus coming her way.

“The other thing that’s nice is that Dana hinted that I have a discretionary bonus, meaning a gift, for my performance,” Kish told The Domenick Nati Show in the days after the fight. “So UFC’s very good at giving little secret bonuses — at least to me — here and there. … I didn’t ask, and I didn’t pry how much it’s going to be or anything, so we’ll see.”

White reinforced to The Post that he generally doesn’t feel inclined to publicize the amounts paid out to fighters, saying he’s resisted overtures from UFC employees to be more forthcoming in discussing money.

“Obviously, there’s a lot of money involved and, believe me, many people, including people who work for me, said, ‘If you would just say publicly what you do,’ and I say, ‘but I don’t care.’ ” White said. “It’s nobody’s business what these guys make.”

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Donald Douglas, longtime PSAL executive director, dead at 58

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Donald Douglas, longtime PSAL executive director, dead at 58

Donald Douglas, the longtime executive director of the Public School Athletic League, died late Friday night, according to friend and PSAL colleague Dwayne Burnett.

Douglas was 58, according to his Facebook page.

Douglas died of a heart attack, while vacationing on the island of Jamaica, after a bad fall eventually caused a blood clot to form, according to Burnett. The Brooklyn native and Bushwick High School alum had retired this week from his post. He was PSAL director since 2004, when he was promoted from deputy director, and spent more than 35 years working for the New York City Department of Education.

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Don’t make this catcher mistake

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Don’t make this catcher mistake

The 2021 fantasy baseball draft season is upon us, and with its arrival comes a variety of strategies to test out and employ.

Drafting with position scarcity in mind is something we see every year, and though the catcher position is routinely linked to the strategy, the belief that you need to draft one of the top backstops early is a mistake. If you have been leaning in that direction, it’s time to change gears before you fall over.

In fantasy football, position scarcity has people drafting No. 1-ranked tight end Travis Kelce early because, in securing him, you are obtaining a significant advantage over your opposition. His production dwarfs that of anyone else at his position and on a 10-man roster in a weekly matchup, the impact is huge. The same cannot be said regarding the No. 1 catcher, J.T. Realmuto.

There is plenty to love about Realmuto from a fantasy perspective. His three-year average has him as a .273 hitter with 25 home runs and 81 RBIs. The numbers are strong, but does drafting him in the fourth or fifth round over a 40-homer Pete Alonso or a 200-strikeout Lance Lynn still give you an advantage? Not when you understand it’s just one-fourteenth of your overall team production or when you see what you can get at the position several rounds later.

Casting aside 2020 data, we can look at a number of backstops who not only hit 20 or more home runs, but also hit .270 or better in 2019 and can be obtained at a much lower cost. Willson Contreras, Mitch Garver, Christian Vazquez and Omar Narvaez immediately stand out.

JT Realmuto
JT Realmuto
Getty Images

You also have players such as Yasmani Grandal and Roberto Perez, who matched the power, but fell short on the batting average, or James McCann and Travis d’Arnaud, who posted strong averages, but hit for slightly less power. That’s already eight players who can provide similar numbers at a fraction of the cost, and we’re just scratching the surface.

If Realmuto was a .300-30-100 player, the conversation would certainly be different. He’s a great player but he isn’t performing at a level that leaves your opposition in the dust. If his production can be matched 10 rounds later, you’re better off using that early pick on an elite arm or a bigger bat at another position. Leave your catchers for later.

Howard Bender is the VP of operations and head of content at FantasyAlarm.com. Follow him on Twitter @rotobuzzguy and catch him on the award-winning “Fantasy Alarm Radio Show” on the SiriusXM fantasy sports channel weekdays from 6-8 p.m. Go to FantasyAlarm.com for all your fantasy football advice.

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Mets star Pete Alonso opens up on why he quit social media

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Mets star Pete Alonso opens up on why he quit social media

PORT ST. LUCIE — Pete Alonso wasn’t the only big voice in the Mets organization to deactivate his social media accounts over the offseason.

But the first baseman going dark on Twitter and Instagram had nothing to do with the aftermath of a stock market saga, which was the reason owner Steve Cohen ditched Twitter, and everything to do with a new outlook on life away from a screen.

“I think that real life is just absolutely fantastic and for me, I think life is a blessing, it’s something that I feel like a lot of people, sometimes including myself, take for granted,” Alonso said Friday after a workout. “And I want to spend every second soaking in every single day because every single new day is a blessing, and I feel like especially in wake of what happened last year, there’s a lot of things that I feel like were taken for granted.

“In 2019, if you see everybody wearing this mask, you kind of scratch your head and just be like, ‘Whoa, what’s going on?’ But there’s a lot of new social norms that are in place now that we took for granted. I think for me, I just want to be appreciative of every single day. I want to live in real life.”

Alonso had been one of the more active Mets interacting with fans through social media, especially during his Rookie of the Year season in 2019, when he adopted “#LFGM” as the team’s new rallying cry.

Though he will no longer be in touch with fans online, Alonso is very much looking forward to welcoming them back in person at Citi Field this season. After playing at an empty stadium in 2020 because of COVID-19 restrictions, the Mets are expected to have at least a portion of Citi Field open to fans when the 2021 season begins.

“Playing on TV is absolutely fantastic, but being there in person where one swing of the bat or making a diving play or striking somebody out, you can make that many people in person smile, stand, clap, cheer, yell even just by doing something,” Alonso said, with a big smile breaking out. “Once I heard 40,000 people at Citi Field go absolutely bonkers, that’s an adrenaline rush that I’m addicted to.

“I can’t wait until it’s packed out again like that. If it’s 25 percent, 30 percent, I can’t wait to hear people cheer again in person. For me, it’s addicting, and I love it.”

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