With the global adoption of cryptocurrency increasing, an increasing number of celebrities and athletes are receiving their pay in digital assets such as Bitcoin.
Notably, the UFC heavyweight champion Francis Ngannou revealed on Twitter on January 14, that he is considering taking 50% of his next fight purse in Bitcoin. The Cameroonian, who has his next fight scheduled for January 22, revealed:
“Been talking with my family and friends in the crypto space. Bitcoin is huge in Africa, and I’m thinking of taking half my fight purse in it. Bitcoin is the future, and I’m a believer.”
Ngannou in a contract dispute
It’s worth mentioning that the fighter has recently been in contract talks with the UFC, although they have been at loggerheads over a new UFC deal with boxing options. The fighter has said he “will not fight for $500,000, $600,000 anymore,” whether this has anything to do with Ngannou’s interest in Bitcoin as payment for his fight purse remains to be seen.
The champion did state, “Bitcoin is huge in Africa,” which isn’t an understatement; the African cryptocurrency market increased by over 1,200% in value between July 2020 and June 2021, according to a report by Chainalysis. The firm believes that African nations received roughly $105.6 billion in cryptocurrencies.
Crypto sports deals on the rise
The Ultimate Fighting Championship promotion, in which Ngannou fights under is a prominent worldwide mixed martial arts organization. In July 2021, the company announced a sponsorship and a fight-kit partnership with Crypto.com, one of the world’s largest crypto trading platforms by trading volumes.
According to people familiar with the deal, it’s said to be worth in the region of $175 million over ten years. Interestingly this is not the platform’s only foray into the world of sports previously; we reported the Singapore-based cryptocurrency company signed an agreement for an estimated $700 million to rename the Staples Center, the home of the Los Angeles Lakers, to the ‘Crypto.com Arena.’