TOM ‘Kong’ Watson has landed the biggest payday of his fighting career after netting a cash $100,000 jackpot thanks to his maiden UFC victory.
The Southampton Mixed Martial Arts expert was handed the massive bonus following his dramatic win over Stanislav Nedkov at Wembley Arena.
UFC (Ultimate Fighting Championship) cards always hand big money bonuses for the fight of the night and knockout of the night to encourage entertaining action.
And 30-year-old Watson won both to secure the six figure windfall.
In the past, Watson has only earned enough from his dangerous career to cover his training and living costs .
He had been counting the cost of lost sponsorship money due to his fight with Nedkov being streamed live on the internet on the UFC undercard rather than on TV with the main fights.
That is the price Watson has had to pay to try and work his way up the UFC ladder, but he has now had a taste of just how lucrative life with the global franchise can be.
The fight was an absolute thriller with both men trading blows in the first round before Nedkov got Watson to the floor and looked like stopping the contest as he landed a cavalcade of punches.
Watson just about held on to see out the first round and was on the back foot again in the second before he unleashed a barrage of knee and elbow blows that forced the referee to stop the bout late on to deliver the entertainment he had promised in an exclusive interview in last week’s Daily Echo.
“It’s a strange experience to be there on the floor and then to put on a great fight and knock someone out,” reflected Watson.
However, most of Watson’s postfight talk has been aimed at UFC fighters who are using Testosterone Replacement Therapy (TRT).
Some fighters can be given extra doses of testosterone if their natural levels are found to be below certain limits.
But it has proved a hugely controversial issue with different athletic commissions grading the amounts needed to get the boosts differently.
Some fighters are allegedly taking advantage of the system for an unfair gain.
Watson certainly isn’t happy about it and sounded off after his win.
“People can disagree with me all they want,” he said.
“I’m in the industry. I fight, and I see it.
“I don’t know if it’s me, but I look at guys and you can see which guys are on it.
“It’s a problem that we’re trying to deal with. That’s why I said if you want to do it, you can’t put it into your chin, and you certainly can’t put it into your heart.
“That’s the type of fighter I am – I've got a big heart.
“If you want to take drugs and you want to be a cheat, let me fight you and let’s see what happens.”
UFC boss Dana White, who awards the fight of the night and knockout of the night decisions that netted Watson so much money, also came out in support.
He suggested that some fighters are overusing the TRT during training and scaling back just before fights, so they are within the correct limits when tested.
Watson’s win will surely guarantee him a big boost up the UFC ladder and, after his brave words following the contest, he might well find himself up against a TRT user next time out.
That would be a fight that would surely capture the imagination, and a whole heap of publicity.