To the Victor Go the Spoils: Fighters That Bet Their Bout’s Entire Purse

  • Conor McGregor called out fighters betting the purse for their bout
  • McGregor was indirectly addressing Ryan Garcia and Gervonta Davis
  • Lots of fighters have bet their purse and not followed through after losing
  • McGregor had choice words for an old opponent, Khabib Nurmagomedov
Conor McGregor
Conor McGregor called out fighters betting their purse, a practice that has gone on for a while. [Image:]

McGregor weighs in

One of the most popular trends in the world of combat sports is for fighters to bet their purse on the result of the bout. An objection to the wager is considered an admission of weakness and lack of self-confidence, which puts the respondent in a tough predicament.

fighters never follow through with the wager

Conor McGregor questioned the tradition recently and said that fighting, as much as it is a battle of skill and will, also incorporates elements of luck. He also said that fighters never follow through with the wager, so there’s no point.

Regardless of if the participants (almost always the loser) uphold their end of the wager, it makes for interesting theater during the pre-fight build-up and creates the best headlines in the sport.

Fighters love to bet their purse

McGregor’s verdict on the betting of the purse was given in anticipation of a lightweight showdown between two undefeated knockout artists, Gervonta Davis and Ryan Garcia. The pair agreed to bet their purse on the result of the fight, which ultimately ended with Davis’ seventh-round shot to Garcia’s liver.

Davis had the right under the good faith of the wager to demand the purse in the aftermath, but mercifully allowed Garcia to escape the public shame for either losing or refusing to send him the money. He and Garcia also embraced each other after the fight and poured cold water on the pre-fight tension that had grown, which likely factored into his decision.

But while those two modern boxing superstars came to a resolution, two others—Jake Paul and Tommy Fury—did not. The loud-mouthed Paul repeatedly challenged Fury to a wager, saying that he would double his pay if Fury won, but keep all of the money if he himself won. Fury went on to win the fight on points and flipped the script on its head.

A handshake is as good as a contract to us.”

“At the end of the day, we were live on TV and we shook hands,” Fury said on Good Morning Britain. “A handshake is as good as a contract to us.”

Paul claimed to have made $30m from the fight, but there are no reports that he has paid Fury what he owes under the terms of the wager.

Different results

Betting the purse extends years back. Saul “Canelo” Alvarez and Julio Cesar Chavez, Jr. shook hands on a wager for all of their winnings in a pre-fight presser before their May 2017 clash known as the “Mexican Showdown.” Alvarez was promised $5m, and Chavez Jr. $3m just to enter the ring.

Canelo easily defeated his countryman in a unanimous shutout decision. All three judges scored the 12-round bout 120-108, and Chavez Jr.’s reluctance to step forward to try to match his opponent’s skill was met with jeers from the crowd in the later rounds.

Justin Jaynes and Charles Rosa took the high-stakes betting to the octagon when they put their entire purse on the line at UFC Vegas 30. Jaynes, unlike many other fighters, held his word and went home with no compensation after a split-decision loss to Rosa.

Lando Vannata, a featherweight UFC fighter, took to Instagram after the result to say  that “Justin [is] regretting everything right now.”

If anyone thinks me losing this bet is going to break me they are sadly mistaken.”

“No regrets,” Jaynes replied via Twitter. “If anyone thinks me losing this bet is going to break me they are sadly mistaken.”

While McGregor, a man known to talk trash with the best of them, disapproves of fighters like Jaynes having to forgo their payout because of a bet, even he couldn’t help himself from dissing an old opponent.

One of his Twitter followers said that he still owed Khabib Nurmagomedov his purse after a lopsided defeat, to which McGregor responded “Khabib is a fat b—- with tits now, lad.” 

That sort of egocentrism is exactly why it’s hard to see fighters ending the practice of betting their purse any time soon. But at least it’s entertaining!

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