You won't find many athletes in the elite levels of American sports with a more financially fraught situation than UFC fighters. Especially when they end up fighting for free.
UFC featherweight Justin Jaynes raised eyebrows this week when he announced plans to literally bet on himself at Saturday's UFC Vegas 30. Specifically, Jaynes said he and his corner were betting their entire fight purse on him for his bout against Charles Rosa.
Jaynes estimated his total bet to be worth nearly $25,000, which would have paid out handsomely as BetMGM had him as a +145 underdog as of Friday.
"As soon as the betting line comes out between Justin Jaynes and Charles Rosa, I’m putting my entire fight contract on myself, and my coaches are doing that as well. I’m betting close to 25K 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."
"I really appreciate the positive energy I've received and the negative energy received, but at the end of the day, I really just don't give a f***. It's not your money. Let me bet what I want to bet. I believe in myself. I believe in my coaching staff. I believe in my abilities. I believe in my full training camp.
"I'm taking a risk. My job is on the line. My UFC career is on the line. All the money that I'm going to be making in this fight is on the line and I love it. But I do want to reiterate, I don't give a f*** what any of you think. I'm getting these messages 'Oh, you're about to be broke.' Mother f***er, I was broke before. If I lose, I'll be broke again and I'll figure it out. It's not that serious to me."
Fast forward to Saturday and, well, you can probably see where this is going ...
Jaynes did his best, and even looked like he could pull off the upset finish in the third round at one point, but ended up losing by split decision 30-27, 28-29, 29-28.
For what it's worth, Jaynes soon returned to social media and made it very clear he did not regret his decision.
Jaynes entered Saturday on a three-fight losing streak, so betting on himself could have been a bold motivation tool. Unfortunately, it ended up backfiring, and now he will exit the event with nothing beyond some pain and life experience.
A fourth straight loss probably also won't do much good for Jaynes actual UFC roster spot, though some extra notoriety from this whole thing could at least help.
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