When the Ultimate Fighting Championship and Reebok’s sponsorship deal was first announced, fans and fighters alike were hesitant to celebrate. Even though the idea of fighters getting a set chunk of money to eliminate sponsors was nice, there were still plenty of ways for the parties involved to drop the ball.
And they did.
It was originally announced that the way the money would be distributed to fighters would be based on their division rankings. The higher a fighter is ranked, the more they will get. This would be a good idea in theory if there were officials who set the rankings, but some people who submit their rankings are kind of screwy.
After the backlash from this, Dana White and the UFC announced that they would be restructuring how the money is dispersed amongst the talent. Last week, it was announced that the amount of fights the fighter had under the Zuffa banner would decide how much money they would get rather than their divisional rankings. Veterans were happy and rookies knew they would have to earn their keep.
Then, they found out how much they would be earning. A fighter just walking into the octagon would be refused sponsorship money from everybody except Reebok who would give him/her just $2,500.
In a conference call, Dana White and the Fertitta brothers shared their views on the updated pay scale. “We believe that the introduction of this outfitting policy is very beneficial for the athletes. It’s an investment that we’re making as a company, and we think it’s going create long-term value for the athletes, the UFC brand and for the sport.”
Ike Epstein, the Chief Operating Officer of the UFC, went on to explain how every fighter’s jersey/kit would be made available to purchase online. The fighters will receive 20%-30% in kickback from the merchandise sales.
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