The uniform deal that Reebok has locked in with the UFC has upset a lot of fighters under the promotion. While some have gained some income with Reebok’s deal, others have had a lot of money fly out the window.
Vitor Belfort spoke with Sportv (transcribed by Bloody Elbow) about the Reebok sponsorship as his fight with Ronaldo “Jacare” Souza is coming up at UFC 198.
“MMA is a lot closer to entertainment than sport these days. I’m not satisfied with the way the company is handling sponsorship. We are pretty much living in slavery. We can’t use our own sponsors, they are banned inside the Octagon. We have no properties.”
Belfort hopes to change things and lay the foundation for the future fighters coming up and looking to make a living from the sport of MMA.
“The good thing about breaking records is when you’re not worried about it. When you are, it becomes frustrating. My happiness comes from within. Breaking records is what I do best. I hope I can leave a legacy which fighters can use to raise awareness about a minimum wage pay. It’s a contact sport. I don’t think it’s fair for someone to earn 500 dollars to be elbowed in the face. There has to be a retirement plan, which does not exist now. That’s something for the next generation. They need to save their money and invest. They need to know the athlete life will end.”
Belfort has been fighting professionally since 1996 and says that he is uncertain about how much longer he will be fighting.
“All my next fights could be my last. So you should make your dream as if it was your last, too. I’m very happy with my career and everything I conquered. I do this because I love it, today. I’m still a voice to be heard. I can still help the sport.”