At least one fighter can now win a $50,000 performance bonus at every ONE Championship event

Timofey Nastyukhin (Left) and Dagi Arslanaliev (Right) won the first performance bonuses from ONE Championship. | [Photo: ONE Championship]
Timofey Nastyukhin (Left) and Dagi Arslanaliev (Right) won the first performance bonuses from ONE Championship. | [Photo: ONE Championship]

Some fighters in ONE Championship have been rewarded for exceptional performances over the years. However, starting from ONE: Winter Warriors in 2020, the promotion has now standardized its performance bonuses.

According to a source for the South China Morning Post, ONE Championship chairman and CEO Chatri Sityodtong will award USD$50,000 at every event moving forward. A minimum of one bonus will be given out for each show, with a maximum of five, based on fighters’ performances.

Sityodtong has awarded performance bonuses in the past, but this is the first time that a fixed policy has been announced to take effect in every show.

It will not be exclusive to winners. Those who put on an amazing performance in defeat also have a chance at winning the bonus. The first recipients of these bonuses figured in the same match, Saygid ‘Dagi’ Guseyn Arslanaliev and Timofey Nastyukhin.

The two lightweights figured in an epic clash at ONE: Winter Warriors, as Nastyukhin looked to avenge a 2018 loss to the No. 2-ranked lightweight Arslanaliev. Nastyukhin fought valiantly but it wasn’t enough, as the Dagestani ultimately put an end to the match in the third round.

The fight was hailed as the promotion’s 2021 MMA Fight of the Year. Arslanaliev’s brilliance and Nastyukhin’s resilience also won them the inaugural performance bonus, despite opposing results on their fight records.

Previously, Filipino veteran Eric ‘The Natural’ Kelly and reigning ONE women’s atomweight world champion ‘Unstoppable’ Angela Lee took home $50,000 bonuses in the years prior.

ONE Championship's first event of the year to feature eight bouts

The next chance for fighters to win the performance bonus will come at ONE Championship’s first event of the year. ONE: Heavy Hitters will broadcast live on January 14 and will feature two fights in the lead card and six main card bouts.

The ONE women's strawweight world title will be on the line in the headlining bout. Xiong Jing Nan will defend her ONE women’s strawweight world title against Ayaka Miura.

The undercard will also feature a bout that’s gaining a lot of attention. MMA great Khabib Nurmagomedov will be in attendance to corner his protégé Saygid Izagakhmaev when he makes his debut against James Nakashima.

All 24 fighters on the card will be looking to turn in the performance of a lifetime, as only five of them can potentially win the newly announced performance bonuses.

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Edited by Harvey Leonard
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