To be an MMA fighter, you need to be tough, smart and relentless - built to stand the tests of time. So naturally, it was only a matter of time before a relentless fighter in The Octagon partners with the currency of over 75 lives, bitcoin. Jon Fitch on Saturday became the first MMA fighter to ever receive his purse in bitcoin.
Fitch wins Bitcoin bout by Unanimous Decision
The fight was held at the Foxwoods Resort Casino in Mashantucket, Conn, as the main event versus Yushin "Thunder" Okami for the World Series of Fighting (WSOF) promotion. Fitch was a former welterweight championship contender in the UFC, having won 16 matches in a row at 170 lbs. Now, he was able to secure a win against a normally much bigger opponent, who walks around at 210 lbs, and had to cut weight to get to 170. The scores were 29-28, 30-27 and 30-27.
The reasons for him to start getting paid in bitcoin are varied, but it is for practical matters as much as anything else as it appears Fitch has ethical issues with the current economic state of affairs. Fitch told Inverse:
"After the 2008 financial collapse, I was left under $180,000 on my condo in San Jose. I didn't want to keep supporting people who kind of make those things happen. So I started playing around with cryptocurrency. Now I see all the possible things it can be used for. Especially the blockchain and the technology behind that."
- Jon Fitch
A lot of people don’t know how much, or how little, MMA fighters get paid. Now that Fitch is outside the UFC, working in the main event on a secondary circuit pays just over US$1,000, which he’ll receive in the digital currency. He does not have a sponsor, but his win on Saturday may help with that going forward.
“The appeal for me with bitcoin and MMA is it’s an international sport,” he explained. “A lot of guys have problems with getting paid and the payment processing that goes on. You fight in Brazil or somewhere else, and it takes a few weeks before you get your check. It’s not always easy for a lot of fighters. They’ve got people to pay, trainers, expenses, and things like that.”
The win on Saturday night took his record to 27-7-1 and leaves him as the primary contender for the currently vacant WSOF Welterweight Title.