ATLANTA — The XFC mixed martial arts promotion is returning to competition this week with a unique strategy to incentivize its fighters.

Every competitor on the promotion's return show Wednesday night in Atlanta will receive 1,000 shares of stock in the fight company, President Myron Molotky announced. The XFC is also offering 10,000 shares of stock in performance bonuses for the evening's best fight, submission and knockout, along with a cash bonus.

The XFC says it is currently the only publicly traded MMA promotion, and Molotky hopes to motivate his fighters to bolster the XFC's growth by giving them a financial stake in the company, along with their normal fight purses.

Fighters across combat sports have angled for ownership stakes in their promotional companies in the past, but the XFC is voluntarily giving a foothold to its competitors.

Conor McGregor has repeatedly demanded an ownership stake in the UFC reflecting his status as the sport's biggest star, but the UFC hasn't yet acceded to his demands. The ballyhooed International Fight League, which paid regular salaries and gave health benefits to the fighters in its team-based version of MMA, was a publicly traded company before it went out of business in 2008.

The XFC is returning to action after a hiatus of nearly five years with a show headlined by ex-UFC bantamweight Andre Soukhamthath against Guilherme Faria. Former UFC strawweights Jessica Aguilar and Danielle Taylor meet in the penultimate bout.

The XFC held stateside shows until 2013 and then fought on in Brazil for three more years before pausing competition. The promotion planned to relaunch last summer, but was briefly delayed by the coronavirus pandemic before mounting its resources for the show and an unusual method of fighter compensation.

The XFC has about 185 fighters under contract and broadcast deals with NBC Sports and Telemundo, among other outlets.

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