The UFC has signed a major contract with Reebok. Last December the UFC signed a 6 year, $70 Million deal making Reebok the exclusive outfitter of the UFC. Since July the fighters are only allowed to wear Reebok gear without their own advertisement. We took notice of this a little bit late, and immediately thought, ‘main-streaming,’ but then we noticed the lack of fighter advertisement. This couldn’t be good news…
So here are the numbers, and they don’t look great.
— Jonathan Snowden (@JESnowden) May 6, 2015
So the UFC has now tightened the comfortable income fighters were making. The freedom the fighters had to sell advertisement space is taken away. It’s a solid payout every fight from only Reebok. Most fighters have a solid income from selling the space on their shorts, shirts and banners. This could be good news for some fighters but in general it smells fishy. It appears the UFC makes out better here than its stars. Some fighters are in full support but it just seems unfair. It is a big step in the growth of the sport but that doesn’t justify tightening a grip on your ’employees’.
It looks like the aim here is to generalize the UFC like other major sports, with a ‘single’ uniform appearance. The only downside is that the UFC doesn’t work like other major sports. They still pay out by fights for the most part, and don’t pay for much else. Most fighters are responsible for getting to the weigh-ins. That includes coaching, living, flights, you know everyday things. Now in the other major sports, the teams are responsible for almost everything. They have team planes, busses, training facilities, pro staff’s, medical, etc. It’s a small step in the same direction as major sport, but not the best one at this point in time.
This contract is pretty big, it’s a good move for the organization. But it has a huge space to stiff the UFC’s prize possessions, it’s fighters. The UFC is growing rapidly but is it better to mold to the other sports models or stick to a boxing mold? This isn’t a sport like the rest, an undefeated champion can lose, and lose bad, in an instant, and then what? They come back and lose the rematch even worse, and then what? Then get caught for illegal drugs stamping a bad look on the face of the sport. Does that sound familiar? Because this isn’t a contract style sport, Fighters get paid to win or lose.
It just seems once again that the UFC is a bit greedy and cares more about where it can go than what it has now.