By the time Anthony Pettis stepped into the “Smart Cage” against Stevie Ray at PFL 5 last June, “Showtime” was already guaranteed a spot in the 2022 playoffs, based on points accumulated in the elimination rounds earlier in the year.
In addition, the former UFC lightweight champion is no longer competing for both a “show” and “win” purse; meaning, Pettis gets paid the same regardless of whether or not he wins or loses. That made his decision to prematurely tap against Ray a no-brainer.
“I was already guaranteed a spot [in the playoffs], so I’m going into that fight like, ‘I really don’t have to do anything in this fight,’” Pettis told The MMA Hour. “He put me in that position, it was a split instinct like, ‘Should I let this rib pop and try to fight through this’ — because I probably could have fought through the body triangle — but I’m like, ‘This (next) fight is what matters.’ The championship was the goal the whole time. I’m not gonna get hurt in that fight so this (next) fight I’m gonna be good. I get guaranteed money.”
Bettors who picked “Showtime” do not.
The winner of the PFL 2022 tournament walks away with a $1 million purse, so there’s more at stake than just wins and losses. While it may not sit well with traditional fighters who loathe “silly-ass suits,” Pettis made a tactical decision to preserve his spot in the tourney.
Or took a dive, depending on how you look at it.
Pettis and Ray will rematch atop the PFL Playoff event this Friday night (Aug. 5) from Hulu Theater at Madison Square Garden in New York City. The winner will advance to the lightweight finals against the winner of Olivier Aubin-Mercier vs. Alexander Martinez.
For more news and notes on the PFL 2022 playoffs click here.