What’s a guy got to do to get a bonus around here, anyway?
After submitting Johnny Bedford on the preliminary card of UFC 159 a week ago, Bryan Caraway had to wait out the rest of the card to see if he would get to taste a big chunk of extra change. Then Pat Healy came along.
Healy picked up the “Fight of the Night” bonus for his win over Jim Miller to open the main card – but also plucked Caraway’s potential “Submission of the Night” award right out from under him. Making it extra painful, Caraway (18-6 MMA, 3-1 UFC) had taken the fight with Johnny Bedford (19-10-1 MMA, 2-1 UFC) on just five days’ notice – and then coaxed UFC President Dana White into jacking the bonus amounts for the night from the standard $50,000 to $65,000.
“I got into a little debate with Dana and was able to get them raised from $50,000 to $65,000 – so I singlehandedly in five minutes made Pat Healy $30,000 more,” Caraway told MMAjunkie.com Radio (www.mmajunkie.com/radio). “So Pat, if you’re listening, I’ll take my management 10 or 15 percent finder’s fee.”
The UFC is known for taking care of the fighters who help take care of them, and Caraway taking the fight on such short notice – cutting 23 1/2 pounds to make weight, he said – would seem to be one of those instances. So maybe Caraway will get a check in the mail, despite not getting an official bonus acknowledgment on fight night.
Either way, though, he knows he did his bosses right by taking the fight. Caraway said it was a matter of not wanting to let the company down and stay in its good graces. But that didn’t make his job against Bedford any less stressful.
“I think this might be the UFC record for taking a fight on short notice, since we’re governed by the athletic commissions – five days,” he said. “It’s still hard to say no. You don’t want to disappoint them – you want to be the guy who can step up. It’s definitely nerve-wracking taking a fight on that short of notice, not being to properly prepare and train and focus.”
Caraway could have gone on cruise control against Bedford in the third round, likely believing he was going to be ahead on the judges’ scorecards. But he didn’t. He kept the foot on the gas and went after the finish, getting Bedford to tap from a modified guillotine choke with just 16 seconds left in the fight.
After the fight, White told MMAjunkie.com (www.mmajunkie.com) that Caraway and longtime girlfriend Miesha Tate, a UFC women’s bantamweight, were making waves in the promotion – and people are taking notice.
“He took the fight on short notice, he had to cut a bunch of weight, and he ended up finishing the fight – good for him,” White told MMAjunkie.com. “Him and Miesha Tate are trying to take over the world, man. They’re the dynamic duo. I respect it.”
White couldn’t be talked into revealing the type of fight Caraway might get next. But at 3-1 in the UFC with just a split-decision loss to Takeya Mizugaki on his resume since coming off Season 14 of “The Ultimate Fighter,” Caraway is starting to make a few rumbles in the bantamweight division. All three of his UFC wins have come by submission, giving him 16 of his 18 pro wins by tapout.
Caraway might want a little time off after the Bedford win – especially considering he was in the middle of a back injury during the Mizugaki fight and said he delayed a meniscus surgery so he could fight at UFC 159, instead.
But there’s a fight coming up later this month he may be keeping a close eye on.
“You ask me who I want to fight next? Depending on if he wins or loses, I really want to fight Brian Bowles,” Caraway said. “He’s a great guy and super tough, but I think it would be an awesome fight.”
After a long layoff, Bowles is scheduled to make his return in three weeks against George Roop at UFC 160, a fight booking first reported by MMAjunkie.com in March.
It’s easy to believe that Caraway already is itching to get back in the octagon. After all, he’s got some missing bonuses to make up for.
For complete coverage of UFC 159, stay tuned to the UFC Events section of the site.
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