UFC Execs Confirm Uniform Payouts, Believe It’s a Good Deal for Fighters

May 6, 2015
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Though the new uniform/apparel deal between the UFC and Reebok has its share of both detractors and supporters, UFC executives on Wednesday made their cases for it being a good deal for the fighters.

The new apparel deal, in part, requires UFC fighters and their corners to wear UFC and Reebok co-branded uniforms during their fights and in the official lead-up to the bouts. The fighters are to be compensated for meeting the requirements of the Athlete Outfitting Policy – as it is officially called – via a tiered compensation structure based on the number of fights he or she has in a combination of UFC, Strikeforce, and WEC bouts.

As confirmed by the UFC, the payout structure is as follows:

  • Fighters with 1 to 5 bouts will receive $2,500 per fight
  • Fighters with 6 to 10 bouts will receive $5,000 per fight
  • Fighters with 11 to 15 bouts will receive $10,000 per fight
  • Fighters with 16 to 20 bouts will receive $15,000 per fight
  • Fighters with 21 bouts or more will receive $20,000 per fight
  • Title challengers will receive $30,000 per fight
  • Champions will receive $40,000 per fight

It’s made some fighters happy, while others are not, but UFC CEO Lorenzo Fertitta on Wednesday said they did their best to take the fighters’ wishes into account.

UFC-Glass-Reebok-Logo-750x370“We took a lot of information from a lot of fighters, communicating with them and a lot of people in the industry, and ultimately came to the conclusion that we felt compensating the athletes based on tenure was the best way to do it. It’s clear-cut, black and white and could not be influenced by anyone at all,” said Fertitta.

RELATED > UFC-Reebok Uniform Payout Structure Leaked

“We believe that the introduction of this outfitting policy is very beneficial for the athletes. It’s an investment we’re making as a company and we think it’s going to create long-term value for the athletes, the UFC brand and for the sport. It’s going to provide guaranteed income for each athlete for each fight, thus eliminating the burden of acquiring sponsors and ultimately having to go and try to collect payment on a per-event basis.”

Fertitta went on to explain that all the revenue the UFC derives from the Reebok deal is being distributed to the fighters.

“We essentially looked at the compensation tiers, and they were based on the distribution of the revenue from the Reebok contract to the athletes over the next five and a half years. The only revenue coming through from Reebok that is not included to be distributed to the fighters is being used to cover direct operating costs for this program.”

The UFC’s chief operating officer, Lawrence Epstein, indicated that in talks with fighters at all levels of tenure and accomplishment, and that most seemed pleased with the deal and its structure.

“I’m sure there will be those that aren’t excited about the policy,” said Epstein. “But I can tell you that the vast majority of athletes that we’ve spoken with are excited about the opportunity.”

The Athlete Outfitting Policy officially begins the week of July 6, 2015, which coincides with the UFC’s International Fight Week in Las Vegas.

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  • asdasdasd

    Im very intressted to see if its bouts in UFC or all around mma.

    Becuse it seem decent (enough) if it is all around, if it is just bouts in ufc its even more bull

    • asdasdasd

      And with decent i dont mean that i like it, becuse imo i would rather kept the old system. But it would atleast be more fair

      • Darin

        UFC, Strikeforce, and WEC bouts are the only ones counted according to this story.

    • TheCerealKiller

      “via a tiered compensation structure based on the number of fights he or she has in a combination of UFC, Strikeforce, and WEC bouts.”

      Did you read the article?

      • asdasdasd

        ah, didint acully catch that.

  • Rondo Scalabrini

    What will happen to the MMA brands now that Reebok monopolized the fighters gear? If they were gonna go this route, couldn’t they at least have gone with Nike? Reebok has no “cool” factor…what were they thinking?

    • Seth

      Maybe they talked with Nike too, but they liked terms from Reebok more? I guess that would be the main reason

    • ChoMama

      Nike isn’t desperate to give them a good deal. Reebok wins with this deal because now they’re linked to a “cool” company.

    • Johnny

      I think you and everyone else knows that answer.
      Just as with anything, “grass roots” will only help them survive…

  • Darin

    I understand that fighters will now wear uniforms that won’t include any sponsors but Reebok, and the banners are gone. But, what about clothing they wear while walking out, or put on after the fight? Typically fighters shlub for sponsors via t-shirts and hats (and Dre headphones) after winning while talking to Rogan, Anik, etc.

    Are those banned too?

    I can definitely see how this is a big win for the newer fighters on the prelim card that are mostly unknown and not sponsored. It’s also good for guys who’ve been around a long time but aren’t necessarily contenders, like Diego Sanchez or Josh Koschek.

    • TheCerealKiller

      It’s all Reebok 1 month from the fight.

    • Cb

      I wonder if companies like Tapout would have stood a chance with deals like this.

    • Mark McDowall

      It says that any UFC fight related media events leading up to the fight they have to wear Reebok. I assume if they want to wear a suit or something that wont be stopped…but any logo’d apparel is Reebok.

  • Timothy Malone

    I wonder if the amount of fights has to be continuous. Like does Rampage get paid for all of his past fights, or get paid as someone who has just one UFC fight on his current run? Does leaving and coming back matter?

    • TheCerealKiller

      All UFC, Strikeforce, and WEC bouts count, no matter if they left, got cut and came back or not.

      • Seth

        Good Q – that would be nice wayout for fighters that have better sponsors at the time. LEts say Fighter X has 3 fights in SF/UFC and his sponsors gives him like 4-5k. Could he stick to them, instead of Reebok? That’s a good point…

      • Johnny

        Yeah, that wouldn’t last long.
        Unless you’re a guy like Tim Kennedy, who seems more than ready to jump ship anyway…

  • shakejunt

    i feel like they should’ve just changed the ranking format and kept the tiers based on rank, but that’s just my opinion. i guess there was no good way to prevent biased/ignorant media rankings.

    • snapdad

      at first I thought it should go by rank, and a part of me still does, but after I thought about it, it kinda makes sense going by the amount of fights. the more fights a fighter has either means he has been with the company longer or he is a busier fighter. look at clay guida, that guy has been fighting forever, so it only makes sense for him to benefit a little more than someone like conor McGregor.

      • shakejunt

        it just feels weird having someone like khabib or romero in the lower tiers. i guess it kinda is based off rankings though because rankings usually reflect how long you’ve been there.

        • Johnny

          Not necessarily.
          Depending on what Weight Class you fight in, it doesn’t take much winning to crack the Top 10, much less the Top 15-20. Romero is a PERFECT example…

          • shakejunt

            4-0 should get you into the top 15-20 regardless of division. romero just happened to get name opponents and came away with the wins.

  • Mark McDowall

    This money is in addition to their regular fight pay. And this is their APPAREL sponsor money. So if they are sponsored by a supplement company, They will still get money from that company…and will blow them up all over social media I’m sure. So as an apparel sponsorship it kinda sucks…but it’s not going to kill them.

    • duh

      You think sponsors are going to sponsor you for a fight if you can’t wear any of their gear? gtfo 80% of fighters are f—ed by this

  • John

    LOL, fighters like Shogun will get $10K in sponsorship per fight with this deal, thats horrible for someone with his resume. I guarantee he was making tons more than that before this deal

  • Guess mighty mouse won’t get anymore xbox money, and all the fighters with their sposers on their shorts will lose out. It is ignorant to give their fighters no choice on the matter. Dana and the Fertitta’s are just greedy pigs

    • Johnny

      Not unless he starts showing up in commercials, which is practically non-existent for MMA fighters…

  • Mark McDowall

    Who says they can’t wear it all the time outside of fight time?? The amount of time athletes spend on social media and at shows etc…they will get plenty of face time with their product. Plus I’m sure that the majority of people don’t buy products only because they saw it on a fighters shorts or banner at the fight. I agree alot of fighters will feel the pinch from this…but I really don’t think that EVERY OTHER sponsor that is working with a UFC fighter right now is going to just close up shop because they can’t put their logo on a fighters shorts…

  • KJK

    Just because someone says something does not make it true. Ball being dropped here….no incentive to young up and coming fighters that fill up most of the prelims and under cards. I will give the UFC brass credit for one thing….they sure know how long to make the stick that holds the carrot….just long enough to preserve the carrot.