Sonnen: Reebok Deal a Bit Socialististic

Chael Sonnen

Chael P Sonnen

Chael Sonnen has been one of the higher-profile stars to speak out about the recent developments in the Reebok/UFC deal. Sonnen has neither spoken against or for the deal, but rather stated facts about how much fighters will be losing.

Sonnen dove into the topic of how he feels the Reebok/UFC deal is a bit socialistic on the “Three Amigos Podcast”.

Transcription via. Steph Daniels:

The Reebok deal is a bit of a socialistic approach to sponsorship. I left the sport right before the Reebok deal came into the works, so I don’t have any inside knowledge. I have sat back and read about it, though, and I did see the numbers.

The management company that manages me has two guys, and I was just on the phone with my manager, Mike Roberts, who told me that Chad Mendes commands about $100k in sponsors, and he will take a tremendous hit. It’s going to cost him, on a yearly basis, about a hundred grand. That’s a lot of money.

Now, Scott Jorgensen is also with us, and Scott Jorgensen is going to make about $15,000 more per fight than he is used to making, which with 3 fights a year means he’ll be up about 45 grand, so there’s a bit of a socialistic approach. The bottom guys will do better than they used to, but the top guys aren’t going to do so well.

But that money will still be distributed, it doesn’t go under Dana White’s mattress, he’s not going to sleep on it like so many people like to think. He’s reworking it and putting it back into the system. He’s giving the money back to the athletes. They have to follow some kind of formula, so they came up with one, but you’re never going to make everyone happy.

No good deed goes unpunished. Let me explain; as fighters, we never had the right to that money. No executive producer anywhere in the world sets up cameras, pays for the ring, the light and sets up the show, and then gives the talent the ability to come in and take advertising dollars. If you’re the executive producer, and that’s what Dana is, and let’s say you’re on NBC with Saturday Night Live. Your talent can’t come up in a Nike t-shirt and then charge Nike and do a side deal. NBC will say, ‘Wait a minute. This is our network, this is our show, these are our cameras, we paid for this and we took the risk. Nike has to pay us the money if they want to be advertised.

That’s why actors walk around on TV in blank t-shirts. If somebody wants to sponsor them, they have to go through the house. Dana White gave fighters, myself included, the opportunity to make money that we never had the right to. Now that’s dried up. Instead of him pulling out the carpet from under us completely, like any movie studio or TV show would do, he’s still giving us a bunch of money. Guys are just complaining because they think they could get more elsewhere.

The truth is, as talent, we’re not entitled to that money. I work with ESPN right now, and I couldn’t walk out there with a sponsor’s watch or suit on and collect that money behind ESPN’s back. I work for them. The money has to go to them. This situation is a major case of no good deed goes unpunished. We had something for years that we never should have had.

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