Labeling the UFC and Reebok deal as a mess is an understatement to say the least. When the deal was first announced by the UFC, fighters were excited yet apprehensive to accept what would be happening. Fighters would lose their sponsorship money and that cash is dispersed throughout the entire camp, usually. After several revisions, the final details of the payouts were revealed earlier this week and fighters aren’t happy.
The athletes of the UFC have taken to social media to voice their opinions on the matter. Some think it’s a move for the best while the majority view it as damaging to their business.
John S. Nash of Bloody Elbow got in touch with Mike Lunardelli, the Business Unit Director for Reebok Combat Training, and asked him what he thought of fighters speaking out about the payout structure.
“We are never going to be able to tell someone how they should feel about something, but for us we aren’t nervous. We are really excited to work with these fighters. We’ve already signed certain fighters to be Reebok brand ambassadors and are looking to add a couple to this already stacked roster. And at the same time we want the fighters to be excited and put on the fight night gear as a badge of honor, to be proud of what they’re wearing and feel great about it. But we’ve done this before with NFL, NBA, NHL, MLS, a large host of NCAA schools, so we’re very confident we can do a great job with this deal and do things nobody has ever done before.”
Lunardelli went on to explain that despite the nervousness of the fighters, Reebok is excited to work with the athletes in building a good relationship. “I can understand the nervousness, but we are excited to work with the fighters. The end game is to make the fighters perform better and be their best selves.”
However, when asked whether or not Reebok had anything to do with the way the compensation was dispersed among fighters, they passed the question right back to Nash and told him to ask UFC about it.
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