On Wednesday, the cryptocurrency payments service company Bitwage announced that the Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) strawweight Luana Pinheiro will be the first female UFC fighter to be paid in bitcoin. Pinheiro’s boyfriend, a UFC flyweight fighter, started getting paid in bitcoin last March and after her eight-fight winning streak, Pinheiro decided to follow her partner’s decision to get paid in crypto.
Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) fighters have been getting into crypto assets these days, after the UFC heavyweight champion Francis Ngannou announced he would get half of his UFC 270 purse paid in bitcoin. UFC also partnered with the digital currency exchange Crypto.com and through a deal with the company, UFC Fight Night bonuses are paid in bitcoin. On July 27, the crypto payments service company Bitwage announced that UFC fighter, strawweight Luana Pinheiro (18-2 record), will be the first female UFC fighter to be paid in bitcoin (BTC).
Bitwage details that because Pinheiro is leveraging the company’s platform, she doesn’t have to negotiate with the mixed martial arts (MMA) company UFC to get crypto payments. Pinheiro got the idea from her boyfriend, who is also a UFC fighter in the flyweight division, Matheus Nicolau (18-2 record). Nicolau started getting paid in BTC in March and Bitwage says that it makes them “a true UFC power couple on the bitcoin standard.”
“MMA is a brutal sport and there is no time for overthinking. Mental strength and callousing one’s mind is everything,” Pinheiro explained in a statement sent to Bitcoin.com News. “I do not think I will have a problem with bitcoin going down or up [in fiat value]. If it was not volatile it would not go up either. Think about this: it takes on average 10-15 years for an individual to get a black belt in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu, so my time preference here is equally long if not longer. Black belt time preference I call it. Everything else is just noise to me and the lower the price, the more bitcoin I will be able to secure for the future.”
According to the co-founder and CEO of Bitwage, Jonathan Chester, the company’s team flew out to Rio de Janeiro, Brazil to help Pinheiro get started in person. Chester remarked that the service is not just for athletes and high-net-worth people as anyone worldwide can opt to use Bitwage’s crypto payment services. “Proper information at the right time is everything. Having knowledge and not acting on it is not why we acquire knowledge in the first place. We get it so we can act.” Chester explained on Wednesday during the announcement. Chester added:
It is our goal to help each and every individual on their journey. Through education, every individual can choose how they want to get paid, whether it be to their self-controlled wallet or to their bank account. So at the end of the day, they do not need anybody and are truly independent.
Since 2014, Bitwage has been offering crypto and stablecoin payroll services, and in 2020 it launched a retirement service with the exchange Gemini. To date, the startup has processed more than $150 million in transactions and has 50,000 users and partnerships with 2,000 companies worldwide. In addition to the UFC fighters Pinheiro and her boyfriend Nicolau, the professional athletes Alex Barrett, Achara Ifunanyachi, and Alex Crognale have also chosen to be paid in crypto using the Bitwage service.
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