When Josh Emmett handed Michael Johnson a one-way ticket to the shadow realm at UFC on ESPN 2, courtesy of a hellacious overhand right to the jaw, it seemed all but certain the Team Alpha Male product would leave the Wells Fargo Center with a post-fight bonus.
But while riding a wave of emotions, which came after more than a year recovering from facial surgery, Emmett was shot back down to earth after seeing his name was not among the four fighters who received a $50,000 bonus.
Instead, the UFC brass awarded Jack Hermansson and Paul Craig for their submission victories over David Branch and Kennedy Nzechukwu, while also recognizing Justin Gaethje and Edson Barboza for their Fight of the Night.
Even still, less than two days removed from his win, Emmett is at a loss for why he missed out on a bonus.
“As soon as I hit [Johnson] and it went down like that, I told Urijah [Faber], Danny [Castillo and Joey [Rodriguez Sr.] in the corner ‘Finally, I’m getting a bonus,’” Emmett told Luke Thomas during an appearance on The MMA Hour. “I thought it was a shoe-in for sure. Then, I’m going backstage and, of course, the [David] Branch fight went down and he got submitted [by Jack Hermansson]. But, thats ok. I figured there’d be some type of bonus in the main event and then [Justin] Gaethje got a nice TKO or knockout or whatever want to call it. So I’m like ‘For sure you have to get [a bonus].’
“All of the UFC staff were like ‘You’re getting a bonus’ or ‘Have you got your bonus yet?’ Then Danny pulled it up on his phone and it didn’t go to me. I thought he was joking. I was like ‘There is way.’ So, I don’t know what else I have to do. What more can I do to get a performance bonus? I’m just super disappointed with that.”
As for who he needs to speak with in order to get to the bottom of his bonus-less night in Philadelphia, Emmett revealed the call came from the very top of the UFC food chain and it was simply a matter of getting to them before someone else with power.
“I’m cool with everyone,” said Emmett. “I don’t really have much contact with them unless I see them on fight week or at the weigh-ins or shake their hands. But, it’s usually Dana White, [UFC matchmakers] Mick [Maynard], Sean [Shelby] and [VP of of Athlete Development] Reed [Harris] and they kind of vote unanimously. That’s what I thought.
“I know some of them are maybe a little tighter or closer with certain people’s manager. So, I know every time there’s a great performance or big finishes, I know those managers are in their ears. But from a knockout like that— people were telling me it was one of the best knockouts of the year. Don’t get me wrong, the [Jorge] Masvidal knockout was great, the [Anthony] Pettis knockout, the [Justin] Gaethje knockout — they still had to follow up. And I landed one punch. I landed one punch and I knew it was over, like a walk-off home run.”