Over the last several years, ‘Fear the Fighter’ has been one of the most appealing clothing brands in the mixed martial arts industry. Today, it appears FTF may be going up in flames.

MMAjunkie confirmed UFC middleweight Gegard Mousasi and his camp have filed a lawsuit against FTF and John Makdessi, who’s listed as the company’s President.

In addition to the report revealed by MMAjunkie, The MMA Corner has investigated the deficiency between mixed martial artists and sponsorship companies within the industry. The MMA Corner can now confirm several instances where ‘Fear the Fighter’, an MMA clothing and accessory company, has failed to pay fighters their agreed upon amount.

While the UFC has taken a path to ensure all fighters will represent Reebok moving forward, and that fighters will no longer need to seek outside sponsorships, many enter this new phase still unpaid by ‘Fear the Fighter’.

UFC welterweight Rick Story recently sat down with The MMA Corner to discuss his current dilemma with FTF. Story represented FTF when he met Leonardo Mafra at UFC Fight Night 45 on July 16, 2014 and Gunnar Nelson at UFC Fight Night on October 4 of last year.  The welterweight was due $1,500 of show money, per fight. In addition, Story was set to receive an additional $500 for coming out on top, which he did so in both contests. To date, Story has received not even a small fraction of the $4,000 he is owed.

“I have received nothing,” Story told The MMA Corner. “I have been contacted by Chad Macaulay, the Director of Business, saying that it would be handled. That was all the way back on December 11 and I still haven’t received a thing.”

As of April 24, 2015, Story has yet to receive any form of payment from FTF.

While Story won’t have to fret of similar scenarios happening in the future due to the partnership with Reebok, others still rely heavily on sponsorship as a source of income. Bellator’s hottest featherweight Georgi Karakhanyan is one who will continue the negotiations with sponsors in order to promote their product for additional income. Karakhanyan also claims, like Story, FTF failed to deliver on their promise.

According to Karakhanyan, FTF has failed to pay him dating all the way back to June 21 of 2014 when he still represented World Series of Fighting. Karakhanyan was defeated by Rick Glenn in the second round of action at WSOF 10, but was to still walk away with $2,500 of show money for representing FTF. Like Story, Karakhanyan still has not been paid.

“They [FTF] have given me the run around,” Karakhanyan told The MMA Corner. “They keep promising me that they are going to pay me every week, but every week is something different.”

“They continue to lie to me and they were supposed to pay me after my fight,” Karakhanyan said. “I haven’t receive a dime.”

The list continues as The MMA Corner also spoke with UFC flyweight Tim Elliot, along with his manager Joe Wooster. Elliot, who represented FTF at UFC 171 in April of last year, still hasn’t been paid his show money. Despite falling short to Joseph Benavidez in the main event of the FOX Sports preliminary card, Elliot told us he was to be paid $1,500 for representing the FTF brand.

But here’s where the story gets interesting. According to Elliot, FTF not only failed to pay him, but didn’t even know they sponsored him. Elliot provided us with his conversions with FTF via direct messaging on Twitter. See for yourself below.

 

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**Several messages were blurred to protect contact information for the privacy of both parties.

The conversation above is puzzling and perplexing to say the least.  The exchange highlighted confusion in regards to the correct payment amount, along with FTF stating, “We never knew we sponsored you from the beginning. But we honored it.”

Neither Elliot nor his manager have received any form of payment. Wooster recently shared of his frustrations. “Zero money has showed,” Wooster told The MMA Corner. “They [FTF] have claimed they didn’t know they sponsored him, but his walkout gear arrived. That was an easy one to dispute.”

“They claimed they sent checks in the mail. They said they never received an invoice, so I forwarded the email they replied to, saying it would be 30 days until payment. In 12 years of MMA, they are absolutely the worst company I’ve ever dealt with,” Wooster said. “If they want me to stop talking, a check for $1,500 is the only thing that will do that.”

The MMA Corner also reached out to UFC featherweight Cub Swanson, who expressed his exasperation with FTF via Twitter. When asked for a statement providing his experience with his former sponsor, Swanson told The MMA Corner, “The worst company I’ve had to deal with personally.”

 

 

We also reached out to Swanson’s management team for additional information in January of this year. PRO MMA Management provided us with the following statement: “Thank you for your interest in this story. Yes, Fear the Fighter owes Cub a significant amount of money. We do not wish to specify an amount as we are in the process of initiating legal action in this matter.”

The MMA Corner reached out to Swanson on April 24, 2015 and “Cub” indicated that FTF has still not paid his agreed upon amount. According to Swanson, this figure is approximately $6,000.

The biggest surprise coming from the list of fighters shortchanged by FTF is UFC middleweight, Michael Bisping. Also a participant at this weekend’s UFC 186, Bisping has represented FTF on numerous occasions over the course of his career. A source close to Bisping indicated the amount owed is in excess of $40,000. The source spoke on the condition of anonymity because he or she is not authorized to publicly discuss such matters.

While the fighters mentioned above have yet to receive any form of payment, several have received a legal document from FTF, asking their clients to remain silent as speaking out against the company could cause undue damages to its image. The MMA Corner has received a copy of this letter. Take a look for yourself:

Dear Sir or Madam,Our firm has been retained to represent the interests’ of Fear the Fighter.We have been instructed by our client to advise you that it is currently in negotiations with its shareholders and creditors to restructure part of it’s operations that would lead to an increase of our client’s funding base in order to support future expansion in our client’s apparel and energy drink brands.We have also been informed that a few of our sponsored fighters have expressed some frustration about delayed payments. However, we wish to reassure everyone that our client is working around the clock to implement our expansion plans by the end of the first quarter of 2015.It is important to highlight that we are aware that some of our sponsored fighters took it upon themselves to use social media to post unnecessary comments. We do not consider as the proper course of action and we also consider very unfair to our client, in view of the fact that our client has always been very supportive and has always honored all of it’s obligations even when events were cancelled.

Therefore, our client is requesting from everyone to remain calm in this crucial time. Moreover, rest assured that our client will not spare any effort to resolve any misunderstandings and will maintain an open communication policy with its loyal fans and suppliers and report on progress made to position the company for future growth.Lastly, please be aware that our client has supported the industry from the early stages and considers that it contributed strongly to the awareness of the support and to individual UFC fighters. Our client wishes to maintain the value of the brand to be enjoyed by everyone now and in the future. As such, we wish to clearly state that harmful actions by a few fans on social media will only jeopardize our chances in securing the required expansion funding and will push our current and future investors away. We will not hesitate to seek legal action against anyone that unilaterally causes undue damage to Fear The Fighter.Please act accordingly.Mtre Tom Markakis

It is worth noting that The MMA Corner has reached out to both FTF and the law office that allegedly sent out the letter above. To date, neither have chosen to comment.