If you haven’t heard by now, the numbers are out on the Reebok Deal and it doesn’t look good. There’s a number of issues with the structure, but ultimately it just isn’t enough money. For years fighters have been able to acquire their own sponsors to supplement their income. The UFC is the biggest stage in the sport, and has the most eyes on it. Companies have seen it as a platform to elevate their brand and the athletes have benefited. With proper management a fighter has been able to leverage his worth based upon social media presence, ranking, and general public awareness.

All of that is coming to a halt. The UFC announced at the end of 2014 that they had signed a $70,000,000 deal with Reebok. Fighters would no longer be able to acquire sponsorships and they would be forced to wear the uniforms supplied to them by Reebok. One argument is that the sport would be moving closer to the main stream with the implementation of uniforms. Whether you agree with that or not, it wouldn’t be a big deal if the fighters weren’t taking a financial hit. Unfortunately, a lot of fighters are going to have pay cuts due to the new deal.

It’s been an unusual week. It’s rare to see a fighter that is active in the UFC speaking publicly against the company or their policies. Some of the names that have publicly shared their displeasure with the deal are Brendan Schaub, Myles Jury, Matt Mitrione, and Tim Kennedy. Tim Kennedy has come out and said his twitter account was hacked. Maybe it was, maybe it wasn’t. Either way there has been a lot of negative feedback.

You can now add Joe Rogan to the list of detractors. Recently, on the Joe Rogan Experience, he discussed the Reebok deal with Joe Shilling who fights for Bellator MMA. Rogan said of the deal, “I’m an idiot when it comes to business, but I don’t like when I see fighters suffering financially. I don’t like it. At all.”

There has been a lot of discussion over the years about fighter pay, and deal seems to go in the wrong direction to correct the issue. The men and women competing in the sport risk a lot, and the UFC is estimated to be worth billions. The UFC’s worth is in part due to the fighters sacrifice, but also due to the proper management of the company. As a whole the organization has made calculated decisions that have led them to success. It seems like they may have made a mistake that could be a catalyst for fighters to come together to strengthen their voice.

About The Author

Michael Davis
Director, Business Development/Senior Staff Writer

Michael Davis is a seasoned professional in the world of finance. In recent years, he has worked for Fortune 500 companies and consulted at one of the largest hedge funds in the world. After working closely with a mixed martial arts management company, he realized he could apply his skills to the sport he loved. The culmination of his professional experience and passion for MMA have led him to his role as Senior Staff Writer and Director of Business Development at The MMA Corner.