Upstart MMA Promotion Primal FC Wants to Pay Fighters in Bitcoin

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Upstart MMA promotion Primal FC has a plan to set itself apart from industry heavyweights UFC and Bellator, and it involves Bitcoin.

The Phuket, Thailand-based promotion held its inaugural event, Dark Moon Rising, in 2017 and is preparing to begin adding sponsors for its next one, slated for later this year.

Primal FC CEO Joe Iozzi told CCN that the promotion hopes to court cryptocurrency-related sponsors for fits events, with the ultimate goal of hosting events exclusively sponsored by the cryptoasset industry.

“Primal FC is extremely excited to invite the crypto space to get involved. We’d love to be one of the first promotions in the world to have a whole bunch of cryptocurrencies associated with us,” Iozzi said, adding that he has been in touch with several potential sponsors already.

Iozzi explained that MMA is a natural venue for cryptocurrency promoters to market their projects, as the industry’s audience shares a similar demographic composition to cryptocurrency users.

Toward this end, Iozzi said that Primal FC plans to begin accepting cryptocurrency payments for event sponsorships and will also give fighters the option to get paid in cryptocurrency.

“The athletes will get paid in crypto through [cryptocurrency-funded debit] cards, such as TenX for example, or directly to their cold wallets or e-wallets online so that the whole process” will involve cryptocurrency, he said.

That would certainly set Primal FC apart from its competitors, but Iozzi said that this has been the promotion’s plan since its inception.

“We hold our events outdoors, in exotic locations — on the beach, in the jungle, in waterfall or river settings,” he said, adding that every event is followed by a Full Moon-style party.  “Every other promotion is doing things in stadiums, so we’re just trying to do something a little differently.”

But while Primal FC may be the only MMA promotion actively courting cryptocurrency sponsorships, several fighters have inked deals with companies and promoters operating in the space.

Last month, CCN interviewed Bellator MMA Welterweight Champion Rory MacDonald ahead of his title fight against former champion Douglas Lima. MacDonald, who has long been interested in cryptocurrency, signed a sponsorship agreement with Dash through the cryptocurrency’s community-driven budget voting process.

Another fighter on the Bellator 192 card, Michael Chandler, was sponsored by cryptocurrency exchange startup CoinLion.

Some quotations have been edited for clarity.

Featured image from Primal FC/Twitter

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Josiah is an assistant editor at CCN. A former ancient and medieval literature teacher, he has been reporting on cryptocurrency since 2014. He lives in rural North Carolina with his wife and children. He holds investment positions in bitcoin and other large-cap cryptocurrencies. Follow him on Twitter @Y3llowb1ackbird or email him directly at josiah.wilmoth(at)ccn.com.