UFC Flyweight Fighter Gets Salary in Bitcoin

Credit: ESPN

UFC flyweight fighter Matheus Nicolau announced he’s converting all of his paychecks into Bitcoin. From March 21st onward, every check Nicolau receives from the UFC will go through the crypto payroll provider Bitwage.

When asked why he decided to accept Bitcoin rather than dollars, Nicolau said he was afraid of rising inflation. The Brazilian-born flyweight said he feels earning Bitcoin rather than fiat currency will better preserve his purchasing power. 

Matheus Nicolau’s manager Vinícius Las Casa also seems to be confident about earning wages in the world’s largest cryptocurrency. Vinícius Las Casa said he’s using Bitwage’s service to convert half of his salary into Bitcoin. 

Matheus Nicolau’s recent Bitcoin announcement makes him the first professional Latin American athlete to agree to a crypto salary. However, Nicolau isn’t the first UFC star to fight for Bitcoin. 

In January of 2022, heavyweight champion Francis Ngannou said he would receive half of his payments from UFC 270 in Bitcoin. Unlike Nicolau, Ngannou opted to work with Square’s CashApp to receive his crypto earnings. 

Crypto Salaries are Becoming Increasingly Common

As Bitcoin adoption increases, more celebrities, businesses, and regular employees seem comfortable accepting wages in the world’s first cryptocurrency. Along with Matheus Nicolau and Francis Ngannou, here are just a few pro athletes that have agreed to earn part of their salary in Bitcoin:

  • Aaron Rodgers 
  • Trevor Lawrence 
  • Odell Beckahm Jr.
  • Cade Cunningham
  • Trevor Lawrence

Legendary quarterback Tom Brady also said he would be willing to accept part of his salary in Bitcoin or other large-cap altcoins. Brady has long been the face of the FTX crypto exchange, and he has his own NFT platform called Autograph.   

But it isn’t just sports stars that want to earn part of their wages in the world’s top cryptocurrency. Many politicians like Miami’s Mayor Francis Suarez earn their paychecks in Bitcoin. NYC Mayor Eric Adams and Belgian MP Christophe De Beukelaer also announced they accept Bitcoin rather than dollars or euros. 

Besides Bitcoin, some people have begun accepting altcoins or NFTs for their wages. For example, a government official on the island of St. Maarten announced he’s receiving his salary in Bitcoin Cash rather than Bitcoin. According to data from Bitcoin.com, Bitcoin Cash is one of the most popular alternative currencies in St. Maarten.

Interestingly, the musician Dillon Francis says he agreed to get paid with a Bored Ape NFT to DJ in various Boston nightclubs. According to Decrypt, the company Big Night Entertainment bought Bored Ape #378 for 109 ETH (or about $340,500) early in February. On February 28th, this rare tuxedo-clad Bored Ape went to Dillon Francis’s OpenSea account. 

Although most businesses outside of the crypto industry don’t pay employees in Bitcoin, recent surveys suggest more workers want this option. According to data from deVere Group, one-third of millennials want at least half of their paycheck in Bitcoin. Researchers also found that about 50 percent of Gen Z respondents would be happy with a crypto payment arrangement.