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27th Sep 2017

Promising wonderkid banks huge payday for first career knockout

Hardly surprising

Ben Kiely

Aaron Pico

For his sophomore MMA bout, Aaron Pico earned the same salary as a former multi-promotion world champion.

Choo choo! All aboard the Aaron Pico hype train!

At just 21 years of age and with only two professional fights under his belt, Pico is already one of Bellator’s biggest stars.

The promising youngster was famously labelled “the greatest MMA prospect”that trainer Bob Cook had ever seen. As a teenager he had won a FILA national championship in both freestyle and Greco-Roman wrestling, a Junior Golden Gloves championship, signed a lucrative sponsorship deal with Nike and was snapped up by Bellator on a long-term contract.

Now, with a 1-1 record in professional MMA, he’s receiving the same salary as a former multi-promotion world champion.

Pico silenced the vultures that were circling after his humiliating debut against Zach Freeman with a superb performance in his second trip to the cage at Bellator 183. He was rewarded handsomely for his knockout of the year candidate against Justin Linn, as the event’s salaries disclosed by the California State Athletic Commission to MMA Fighting show.

For that highlight-reel first round knockout, Pico banked a cool $50,000 ($25,000 show + $25,000 win) whereas his opponent received just $4,000 for being brutally rendered unconscious. Pico earned the same as former WEC and UFC lightweight champion Benson Henderson, who lost his fourth Bellator fight and 32nd professional fight to Patricky Freire who earned $110,000 ($65,000 show + $45,000 win).

Paul Daley also earned $50k on the night. The British knockout artist won his 57th professional fight against Lorenz Larkin in stellar fashion, with his opponent taking home $40,000. Former UFC star Roy Nelson received $60,000 for his promotional debut in which he beat Javvy Ayala to a decision.

It’s important to note that these figures do not represent a fighter’s total earnings as  they don’t take into account sponsorship revenue, discretionary earnings or other payment that are not publicly disclosed.