The UFC's deal with Reebok has been a wait and see experience for many fighters. The promise of more money for less hustle has been at odds with the killing of a competitive market for ad space that saw especially notable fighters pull in a lot of deals for their banners and shorts. Some voices, like Brendan Schaub and James Krause came out of the woodwork early to say that they were already having sponsors cancel deals and were already losing money. Others, like Michael Bisping and Demian Maia have welcomed the deal as an end to working with shady companies who are reluctant to honor contracts.
UFC fighter reactions to the Reebok pay scale
UFC fighters are reacting to the official release of the Reebok pay tiers for the exclusive sponsorship deal starting in July. So far, reactions are mixed.
Interesting to see if that's still their opinion, now that the official figures are in front of him. UFC bantamweight Cody Gibson posted a photo of the official UFC memo outlining the deal to his Twitter feed:
Interestingly, using the figures from Reed Kuhn's FightNomics Blog (which show that about 61% of the UFC roster falls into the lowest sponsorship tier), the new figures only total up to about
$7.5 million $7 million a year of the reported $70 million/6 year Reebok deal initially announced back in December, figuring for 20 title fights a year. That's a lot less than it seems like the annual numbers should shake out to, especially when just a couple weeks ago the Boston Herald reported that the tiers were expected to pay out along the following lines:
0-5 fights: $5,000
6-10 Fights: $8,000-$10,000
11-15 Fights: $12,000-$15,000
16-20 Fights: $18,000-$20,000
That's $3,000 to $5,000 difference per tier, a pretty big deal especially when you're talking about fighters in that 5-15 fight range.
UPDATE: Brett Okamoto of ESPN reports, via Twitter, that the UFC is now saying the numbers above are "minimum" payouts and that they could be raised with other deals:
UFC says tiers are 'minimums' now, hopeful to sign more deals that could increase amounts ... but single event sponsors are 'separate.'— Brett Okamoto (@bokamotoESPN) May 6, 2015