It turns out the partnership between UFC and Reebok will be hurting more than just the fighters.
Late in 2014, UFC announced they had signed an exclusive sponsorship deal with Reebok that would benefit the fighters. The men and women of the UFC didn’t get too excited as details behind the deal were yet to be revealed except for the fact that they would not be able to wear their sponsors to the octagon anymore.
Instead, they would be wearing Reebok’s official UFC Fight Kits and getting sponsor money based on how many fights they’ve had in the octagon. Some fighters approved of the idea, most claimed it would be losing them money in the long run. Regardless, the deal is here to stay and fighters can adapt as they please.
Cut-men, however, have been impacted by the deal as well. Jacob “Stitch” Duran, perhaps the most recognizable cut man, confirmed on Twitter that they would be losing their sponsors as well. Duran told Bloody Elbow how losing sponsors has impacted his pay so far.
“It’s a solid shot. I got paid on a monthly basis so it definitely added up. I made really good money on that sponsorship so it’s kind of a shocker to transition,” Stitch said. “This is what I do full time. I also do boxing and the pay scale is a little different there.”
“Stitch” went on to explain that the pay in boxing is different because the fighters pay you directly, whereas the promotion pays you in MMA. “With boxers, especially when you’re working for the top dogs, you make more so the sponsorship money was nice to have [in MMA]. So I might have to start looking more at boxers again.”
When asked if he had voiced his concerns, “Stitch” confirmed he had but nothing could be done about it. “We told our concerns to our higher ups who brought them to their higher ups but we were informed it’s a no-go,” Stitch said. We were told there’s nothing left in the kitty for us so there wasn’t much we could do.”
“Stitch” is uncertain what the future holds for him as his income has decreased drastically since the Reebok deal started. “I really love working the MMA circuit,” Stitch said. “I really love working with the fighters and the UFC, but I also have a family to support. So do I start focusing more on seminars? Do I start giving my business card more to boxers?”
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