Benson Henderson on UFC: ‘You have to wear this, you have to do this, you have to dance like this for us, dance like that for us’
It has been big news in the world of MMA when former UFC lightweight champion Benson Henderson announced his recent decision to sign with Bellator MMA over the UFC.
Henderson spoke with News Day about his decision and the factors that played a role in signing with the growing MMA promotion.
“For me, it was a lot of the intangibles they brought to the table, intangibles the UFC just can’t match. Stuff the UFC doesn’t have the ability to match. Free cable television with the network deal they have with Spike, Bellator being open to me having kickboxing matches or boxing matches they can co-promote, so them being open to that idea, I loved that also. I’m one of those individuals who likes to test myself and find out how good I really am, no matter what it is. I would love to test myself in boxing and kickboxing, I think I can go pretty high in the kickboxing world, and Bellator is open to that.”
In regards to sponsors and Reebok’s exclusive deal with the UFC, “Smooth” says that he would be losing an amount in the six-figure mark with the pay from Reebok.
“That made a huge, huge impact on the deal. I’d be lying if I said it didn’t play into the deal. Reebok deal, we’ll see how it plays out, it’s playing out to mediocre fanfare so far. For me, I’m one of the fighters who lost out on a lot of money, a lot of money, when the rumors of the Reebok deal came out, and when it went into effect, I lost out on a lot of money. Being told I have to wear this, then being compensated with a few pennies, I’m not a big fan of. Being told I have to do this and being compensated with nothing, I’m not a big fan of. I’m not an employee, I’m an independent contractor, and if you’re an independent contractor, you don’t have to do certain things. So being told what to wear, you have to wear this, you have to do this, you have to dance like this for us, dance like that for us, I wasn’t a big fan of that. So again, that’s something Bellator brought to the table that UFC can’t, you’re not allowed. I was in the top tier, you can look it up in public records, the top tier for the Reebok deal is $20,000, so if I were to fight four times in a year at $20,000 is $80,000 in sponsorship money. So for a whole year I get 80K for wearing Reebok and that would’ve been over $100,000 I would’ve lost in that one year from the Reebok deal.”
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