Former UFC fighter Ryan Bader is challenging Bellator MMA Light Heavyweight Champion Phil Davis for the gold at Bellator 180.
The TUF champion also credits the Bellator MMA pay structure for allowing him to have more freedom inside of the cage.
“There’s a couple different structures: UFC likes to use a show and a win structure where if you show up, you get a certain amount and if you win you usually get the same amount – double,” Bader told MMA Junkie. “The thinking is you’re going to go in there and fight your ass off to secure half your pay. Sometimes it works out the opposite to where you’re so much better at a certain discipline than somebody else, you’re going to use that. If I’m a wrestler and I’m fighting a striker, I’m going to do everything in my power to keep it on the ground. Obviously I try to finish every fight, but you’re also thinking that you have to get the half your pay by any means necessary – whether that’s taking him down and try to just ground and pound on the ground and it ends up being a boring fight. With a flat fee, which I have with Bellator, you go out there and you’re not fighting for that extra, so you can fight however you want. You’re not going to be reckless, but you can let loose a little more. It’s more free. You’re getting payment no matter what and you go have a great fight for the fans.”
Bader defeated Davis in their first meeting, which took place at UFC On Fox 14 in January of 2015.
With the rematch upon them, the former UFC fighter wants to close out the rivalry with a victory.
“I wrestled him in one of the quarterfinals of the national tournament and he beat me in a close match,” Bader said. “That was always brought up before our last fight. He has a win over me in wrestling, I have a win over him in MMA and here we go. Here’s the third fight for a belt and the winner gets a trophy. It’s fun to look back and have a competitive history with a guy. He wants to get that fight back and I want to make an even bolder statement with this fight.”
Bellator 180 takes place on Saturday, June 24 from Madison Square Garden in New York, New York with Chael Sonnen and Wanderlei Silva headlining. Fightful is providing live coverage of the event, with a post-show podcast coming the next day.