At long last, Ben Askren is finally a UFC fighter. That means that, as he gears up for his UFC 235 showdown with Robbie Lawler, he has to wear Reebok. That’s thanks to the UFC’s exclusive outfitting deal with the sports apparel giant.
Unfortunately for Ben Askren, this UFC-Reebok deal pays out on a scale based on Octagon experience. Because he is making his UFC debut, that means he’s set to earn the lowest amount possible under the arrangement.
“I only have to wear Reebok to this,” he told MMA Fighting’s Marc Raimondi at UFC 235 media day. “… And to the open workout, and to the weigh ins, and to the fight, all that stuff… They’re not paying me enough though.”
“I got put in that damn first bracket,” he added. “I didn’t think about that [when I signed with the UFC]. When I thought about it, I probably should have negotiated the Reebok money up ’cause they’re not paying me enough.
“I think it’s $3,500 only? It’s pretty terrible.”
In the earlier phases of his career, which unfurled primarily in the Bellator and ONE Championship cages, Ben Askren could pursue whatever sponsorship opportunities he wanted, which oftentimes meant pretty significant paydays. Much more significant than the $3,5000 he’ll be paid for wearing Reebok in the Octagon, at least.
“Sponsorship’s been all over the place,” he recounted. “Even when I was a nobody in Bellator, I made $20,000 on a fight. Those were the wild days. Back then, guys in the UFC were making six figures on sponsorship stuff.”
Do you think Ben Askren deserves a pay boost from Reebok, despite the fact that he’s making his UFC debut? Join the conversation in the comments section below.
This article first appeared on BJPENN.COM on 2/28/2019.