Can UFC Fighters Bet On Their Own Fights? Justin Jaynes Is Risking It All

Written By Dann Stupp on June 25, 2021 - Last Updated on July 28, 2023
UFC fighter

UFC fighter Justin Jaynes has found a novel, if risky, way to possibly increase his payday at Saturday’s UFC event.

He’s betting his entire fight purse on himself.

Jaynes (16-7), who’s a +145 underdog at BetMGM VA, meets Charles Rosa (13-5) on the UFC Vegas 30 preliminary card. The event, which takes place at the UFC Apex facility near Las Vegas, streams entirely on ESPN+.

The Jaynes vs. Rosa featherweight matchup is the second fight on the 13-bout lineup, likely to begin at about 1:30 p.m. ET.

And though MMA fans with more discerning tastes sometimes skip the early prelims, you don’t want to miss Jaynes’ high-stakes gamble.

Can a UFC fighter bet on himself?

The UFC is the world’s most prominent MMA promotion, though fighter pay lags behind for most competitors.

As Jaynes told Overtime Heroics in a recent interview, he’s preparing to gamble all of his guaranteed pay.

Jaynes said he’s going to risk close to $25,000 that he’ll earn. UFC officials have fought hard to keep fighter pay private, but most fighters make a flat rate “to show,” and they can earn an equal amount as a “win bonus” if victorious. In this case, Jaynes is likely earning “$25K/$25K,” meaning $25,000 to show or $50,000 with a victory.

Jaynes is risking his $25,000 fight purse. His coaches, who are entitled to a portion of his pay, are backing him too. As the 31-year-old Michigan native recently told Overtime Heroics’s Danny Podolsky:

“As soon as the betting line comes out … I’m putting my entire fight contract on myself, and my coaches are doing that as well. I’m betting close to $25,000 that I’m winning my fight because that’s how much I believe in myself. This is all in for me, and if I lose this fight, I do not get paid and my coaches do not get paid either. And that won’t be as bad as losing my job of being in the UFC.”

So, can UFC fighters bet on themselves? Are they allowed? As it turns out, yes. They can bet on themselves to win – but not to lose (for obvious reasons).

Many UFC stars and their cornermen/cornerwomen, including Ronda Rousey‘s, have bet on themselves.

How much could Justin Jaynes win betting on himself?

MMA and especially the UFC can be a cut-throat business. The UFC has a massive roster. And though the promotion hosts a fight night nearly every week, spots are limited. With just a single loss, the UFC can cut a fighter no matter how many bouts are left on his or her contract.

If you’re boring and lose a fight, you could get axed immediately. If you’re a crowd-pleaser, though, you usually have a longer leash.

Jaynes, though, is clearly in a must-win situation. After knocking out Frank Camacho in his UFC debut, the Las Vegas-based fighter has since suffered three straight losses via knockout or submission. If Jaynes loses again, UFC matchmakers just won’t be able to justify his roster spot.

As you can imagine, Jaynes’ literal gamble has generated lots of feedback. Not all of it was encouraging.

“Haha, My guy Jaynes gonna be broke after Saturday if he really went all in on himself,” MMA analyst and bettor @MMALOTN joked.

But what if he does win? How much is Jaynes going to clear?

Assuming he got +145 odds on himself, Jaynes could net $36,250 in winnings on his $25,000 wager. Of course, if he wins, he’ll also get a standard contracted win bonus, likely to be $25,000.

All told, Jaynes’ guaranteed payday of $25,000 would swell to $86,250 (not including taxes, coaching fees, management fees, and other expenses).

UFC betting promotions for Gane vs. Volkov

Saturday’s UFC event is light on big-name stars but heavy on interesting matchups.

The heavyweight co-headliner between +150 underdog Ovince St. Preux (25-15) and -185 favorite Tanner Boser (19-8-1), who fought just three weeks ago, should be a banger. Also, a featherweight bout between -225 favorite Andre Fili (21-8) and +190 underdog Daniel Pineda (27-14) is a can’t-miss affair.

However, the main event is a heavyweight tilt between undefeated Ciryl Gane (8-0) and crafty vet Alexander Volkov (33-8).

At BetMGM, Gane is a -155 favorite, and Volkov is a +130 underdog.

However, some VA sportsbook apps have special Odds Boosts for the matchup. At DraftKings VA, for example, “Cyril Gane to Win by KO/TKO/DQ” has been boosted from +275 to +315.

At FanDuel VA, “Alexander Volkov v Cyril Gane to End by KO/TKO” got a boost from +115 to +150.

Caesars VA, meanwhile, has multiple options, including:

  • “Alexander Volkov to Win By KO/TKO/DQ or Submission” at +400
  • “Ciryl Gane, Tanner Boser & Kennedy Nzechukwu All Win” at +400
  • “Ovince Saint Preux to Win By Decision” at +450
Photo by AP / Gary McCullough
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Dann Stupp

Dann Stupp is a longtime sports journalist who’s written and edited for The Athletic, USA Today, ESPN, and other outlets. He lives in Lexington, Virginia.

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