McDonald Calls UFC Bonuses “A Gun To Your Head”

Michael McDonald  will be making his Bellator debut in the main event of Bellator 191, on December 15th against Peter Ligier. McDonald believes that the contract offer from Bellator underlined the faith that they have in him as a fighter and and is ready for the spotlight.

“From my very first interaction with Bellator they’ve made it clear that they believe in me and they’re willing to show it, and I’m very appreciative of that,” McDonald told

“They believed in me and were willing to give me what the UFC wasn’t and because of that I feel very valued.”

“I don’t feel pressure in the sense that I have to show them that I’m good and that they were right to hire me. I’m really not feeling a whole lot of pressure coming into this, even personally.”

McDonald, a top title challenger for the UFC, insists the UFC’s bonus structure allows them to manipulate fighters. McDonald believes it’s very difficult for the majority of athletes to be “comfortable in life,” without going for the bonuses.

“With the UFC’s bonus system and how it’s structured, if you win and you get a bonus you’re doing good, you’re comfortable in life. If you don’t win it, you’re starving. A lot of the guys in the UFC are at that place and it’s not a very good place to be,” he explained.

“Now I’m with Bellator and it’s not the way it is and I’m very happy about that. The bonus structure isn’t applied here with Bellator and because of that the base payments can be a bit better.”

“In the UFC, they used to use the bonuses against you, they used them like a gun to your head.”

“They would say, ‘We don’t want to raise your contract because you’re last fight was this or that’ or, ‘all you have to do is win some bonuses, if you win some bonuses you’ll be fine.”
“It was used more like a weapon than a reward, and I’m honestly glad that I don’t have to deal with that anymore.”

McDonald made it clear his signing with Bellator was a “business move,” wanting financial stability was one of the main factors behind his decision.

“I had to really come to grips with this conflict – am I doing this as a business or a fighter?” he said.

“For the longest time I would tell myself that the money didn’t matter and I was only in this sport because I love it. Eventually that wears off once you have bills and a family and other responsibilities.”

“If you don’t make that monthly requirement people start turning off your stuff. It’s a predicament because once you start becoming an adult, money does matter and I started fighting when I was a kid.”

“Maybe it was all about the love of the game back then, but I had to make the decision that this is going to be my job.”


“As a competitor I’m thinking, ‘give me the title shot right now’, but again, this has to be my business. When the money is right and the time is right we’ll have to make it happen.”

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