Kevin Lee, a professional mixed martial arts fighter, has said a major factor in his decision to sign with a new promotion company was Bitcoin (BTC).
According to a report from MMA news outlet BJ Penn, the Russia-based Eagle Fighting Championship will be paying Lee in BTC as part of a four-fight contract. The fighter has reportedly been a HODLer since before the 2017 bull run, later using some of the profits to live off of after paying for knee surgeries.
“To be paid in Bitcoin and not give me any pushback on it whatsoever, was huge in the decision [to sign with Eagle FC],” said Lee. “It gives me a lot more financial security and will help me fight better, too.”
Payments concerning the Eagle FC were not disclosed, but Lee has previously earned as much as $280,000 through his UFC fight with Tony Ferguson. In a Dec. 17 interview, Lee implied Eagle FC would pay more than he made while under contract with the Ultimate Fighting Championship, or UFC, meaning a potential payout of 5.86 BTC or more at current prices.
Lee, also known as The Motown Phenom, was recently suspended from fighting for six months and fined after testing positive for Adderall. He was later released from his UFC contract before Eagle FC attempted to add him to their roster — his first fight with the company is expected to be against Diego Sanchez on Mar. 11.
UFC has been delving into the benefits of digital assets through partnerships with crypto and blockchain firms. In July, the organization inked a $175 million deal with Crypto.com for the next ten years, an agreement that eventually led to the release of UFC-licensed nonfungible tokens. In addition, the fighting championship has previously partnered with blockchain rewards app Socios and tokenization platform Chiliz to release a fan token.
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Individual MMA fighters have been expressing interest in BTC and other tokens since Jon Fitch became the first professional fighter to be paid in Bitcoin in 2015. Last year, former UFC lightweight champion Eddie Alvarez said he had purchased some BTC, while Ben Askren was paid to promote Litecoin (LTC) and supported the most recent BTC halving.