Whether you think the UFC's new uniform deal is awesome or abominable, the effects are already being felt by fighters. For some, like Paige VanZant and Conor McGregor, it's been all good news. Feature athletes are signing individual deals, putting more per-fight money into their pocket. Of course, these are also often the sort of athletes that can still attract sponsors without the promise of a in-Octagon logo. These are people advertisers are looking to capitalize on. For other fighters, guys with less public presence, guys who have spent a lot of time and hustle getting their banner and apparel sponsorship lined up, the story so far isn't about gains, but losses.
UFC lightweight James Kruase is one such fighter, and he spoke to MMAFighting about the hit he's already taken to his pocketbook. Krause is set to face off against Valmir Lazaro at UFC 184 in Los Angeles, California on February 28th. It will be his first bout since the Reebok deal was announced, and while the official start date is still four months away, apparently he's already out $20,000.
"You just never know what's gonna happen," he said. "What if I break my leg and can't fight for a year? I have no money to raise her. I have to create monthly, recurring income. It seems if your only job is the UFC, especially now after the Reebok deal, it just seems impossible to get that. Maybe not impossible -- very, very difficult."
Krause did want to make it clear, however, that he's not complaining about the money he's making from the UFC:
"I definitely don't want to act like I'm underpaid, because I've never made this much money in my life," Krause said. "So, I'm not trying to bitch and complain about pay. However, I am trying to bitch and complain. I don't know the answer."
Considering how cut off many UFC fighters sound from the company's central operations, it's not surprising that fighters like James Krause and Brendan Schaub are finding themselves with more questions and concerns than answers. Unfortunately for them, it may not be until a few months after the Reebok deal is in place, that they know exactly where they stand.