The Ultimate Fighting Championship officially awarded its traditional “Fight Night” bonuses to four fighters upon the completion of its successful UFC 91 event last night.
Despite lofty projections for PPV sales of the event, officials with the promotion awarded $60,000 bonuses after having awarded $70,000 bonuses during last month’s UFC 90 event in Rosemont, Illinois.
Receiving the 65K bonuses last night on top of their originally scheduled pay were Dustin Hazelett, Jeremy Stephens, Jorge Gurgel, and Aaron Riley.
Hazelett was awarded the “Submission of the Night” bonus following a victory via armbar against fellow welterweight Tamdan McCrory at 3:59 of round 1. The award marked the second time in the 22-year old black belt’s career that he has earned such honors. After the fight, Hazelett informed UFC color commentary Joe Rogan that it is his goal to set the UFC-career record for “Submission of the Night” awards.
The “Knockout of the Night” award went to Jeremy Stephens after the native Iowan thwarted multiple submission attempts by Rafael dos Anjos en route to a third round TKO. In what was proclaimed by color commentator Rogan as one of the biggest uppercuts in UFC history, Stephens deemed his lackluster performance in the first two rounds as irrelevant after loading up and delivering.
Stephens began to swing while outside of dos Anjos’ range but continued to move forward as the punch slipped through dos Anjos’ guard and turned his head at a 90 degree angle. The momentum behind the punch forced a discharge of saliva from the mouth of dos Anjos and made his neck to move as if it was on a swivel.
Both Gurgel and Riley were the recipitients of the “Fight of the Night” bonus following their preliminary card fight that ended with Riley winning via unanimous decision. Despite having taken place as the fourth fight on the card, UFC officials still managed to squeeze the fight into last night’s PPV telecast by airing it immediately after the night’s main event of Randy Couture vs. Brock Lesnar had concluded.
Even though Gurgel holds a black belt in jiu-jitsu, he decided to engage in a standup battle with Riley, who was making his return to the Octagon after two prior tours of duty with the promotion. Gurgel’s decision not to take the fight to the floor cost him not only the battle but the war, but he’s now $60,000 richer to show for the effort.