PFL Exclusive: Stevie Ray reflects on his journey from earning £500 in debut to the brink of $1m

Scotland’s Stevie Ray will be looking to become the first Scottish MMA world champion when he takes on Olivier Aubin-Mercier in the PFL Lightweight final.

Ray picked up back-to-back victories over Anthony Pettis to secure his place in November's championship fight. 

The 32-year-old now has a chance to claim the PFL's $1million prize should he prevail against his Canadian opponent.

Ray's first professional MMA bout took place in 2010 as he knocked out Shaun Edmondson in Stirling, Scotland.

Since then, the man known as Braveheart has travelled around the globe and even enjoyed a four-year spell with the UFC.

Ray is now on the cusp of arguably his biggest professional success, as he stands on the precipice of the world championship belt.

When asked how much he made for winning his first pro fight, Ray told Planet Sport: "Couple of hundred quid I think. Probably around five hundred pounds at the most. [After paying the trainers] probably didn't make any money the first time when you add everything up."

Looking ahead to his $1million bout, he added: "It's a little bit surreal sometimes. Even just thinking of my last two fights, two wins. Sometimes it's almost like I need to remind myself what's at stake for the next fight."

While the winner of the championship bout goes home with the belt and the million, the loser will only take home his pre-arranged PFL wage.

This, consequently, creates a major gap in prize money for the championship bout.

"To be honest, that's the one part I don't like about that," said Ray. "I think it's $950,000 for the winner because they take into account the wages from the last play-off fight.

"Don't get me wrong, I'm going to be doing everything I can to make sure I'm the one that walks away with the money.

"But knowing how fighting works, I feel like it's a little bit unfair for the loser. I feel like they could've done a better split. Maybe $250,000 to $750,000, something like that. But it is what it is."

November's fight will also be Ray's fourth of the year. When asked whether the PFL's schedule takes its toll, the Scotsman added: "No, luckily I came out uninjured in both my last two fights.

"I was a little bit injured after the first fight against [Alexander] Martinez. So that was tough to get back to training straight away.

"My body has been good for both of the [Anthony] Pettis fights. Not injured. I took a week off both camps and then pretty much back to training. I'm in the gym now, Living in the gym again."

Ray's championship opponent has also fought in the UFC and is currently on a five-fight winning run.

When asked about Aubin-Mercier, Ray said: "I've known him for a while. He's a good fighter, pretty solid. Like all fighters, he's got things he's good at and things he's not so good at.

"I'm obviously training, and putting in the work to make sure I've got my hand raised."

The two men will square off in the cage on November 25 at the Hulu Theatre in Madison Square Garden, New York.

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