Gilbert Melendez is getting ready to hit the octagon at UFC 188 when he finally squares off with fellow lightweight Eddie Alvarez. The two have been teasing a matchup since a DREAM Lightweight Tournament years ago and it’s finally becoming a reality.
While Melendez is excited to be facing Alvarez, he isn’t too excited about the UFC’s deal with Reebok.
“(Dana White and Lorenzo Fertitta), they’ve done a lot for this sport, and they’re smart men,” Melendez told MMAjunkie. “So, I have faith that they have an ultimate big game plan, and hopefully, this is better for the sport and yada yada yada… all that stuff.
“But with that said, it has the potential to hurt my pocketbook for sure,” Melendez admitted.
Melendez went to to express his concerns with the deal. With only six fights under his belt, Melendez would be making $5,000 in sponsorship money if the deal was already in effect. “I lived off my sponsorship money every day as an up-and-coming fighter,” he said. “Just my food, my rent – just so I didn’t have to work as hard and I could focus on fighting.”
Gilbert Melendez has relied on sponsors to make ends meet at times and believes that without sponsors, he would have quit the fight game to become an average joe and work a normal job. “These people have watched me grow to see where I’m at, and I love to represent them in there,” he said. “It was a way to make it in this sport. I don’t think, without sponsors, I’d be where I’m at today. I would have had to throw in the towel and get a real job, and I think some fighters are going to have to do that.”
While it’s undeniable that sponsors have helped in the past, do you think fighters like Melendez and Aldo need to see the bigger picture or are they correct?
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