Rory MacDonald captured the Bellator MMA Welterweight Title with a decision win over Douglas Lima at Bellator 192.
The Canadian champion earned $250,000 due to a sponsorship from a cryptocurrency company known as Dash, which was $85,000 more than all the fighters who competed at UFC Fight Night Austin got for the UFC’s Reebok deal.
Jeff Smith is the head of operations for Dash and he explains just how the fighter got such a large payout by the organization.
“There’s actually a monthly proposal cycle, we call it our ‘treasury system,’ and so every month our treasury budget opens and closes and there’s an amount of Dash that we can use as sort of a positive feedback loop,” Smith explained to MMA Fighting. “So we’re using this Dash to reinvest into the ecosystem to do things that we as a network think will be better for Dash. Rory’s play was he had this opportunity to be on prime time TV and that’s something that we as a network wanted to do some advertising for, so he approached the network with the idea of, ‘Let’s get me all Dash’d up and I’m gonna be on TV and you guys can be a sponsor of mine.’ But it’s not like a board of directors or a company where there’s just one person that has the call and that’s the big difference here. Usually, for someone to spend $250,000 to sponsor a fighter, there would be some boardroom that made the decision and stamped it for approval; in this case it’s not, it’s approximately 4700 people all over the world voting yes or no on multiple proposals. Last month I think our cycle had 56 proposals, so there were 55 other people with ideas like Rory’s on how to better Dash.”
This was the first time that MacDonald had been sponsored by Dash for a fight and it is unknown at this time if further sponsorship opportunities will arise.
MacDonald also trains out of Tristar Gym in Canada and other members of the gym have heard about Dash.
“A lot of the Tristar gym fighters have heard about this, like Georges St-Pierre and the boys that are around Rory and Firas (Zahabi), because Firas, Rory’s coach, kind of got this all started. So a lot of the Tristar gym fighters are starting to ask us questions and that was a question Scott Coker had for me too,” Smith said. “We were chatting after the fight and he just said, ‘You’re crazy. When these fighters find out how much money you gave Rory, your phone will not stop ringing,’ and the irony of it is that these fighters deserve it. Of all the people that deserve some payout like that, it’s the fighters.”
While MacDonald is the lone fighter to be sponsored by Dash at this point, fellow Bellator MMA competitor Chael Sonnen recently published a video offering other sponsorship ideas that Dash could be involved in.