The UFC's Reebok sponsorship deal got one step closer to reality today, with the release of the planned payment tiers for fighters. Just recently, the UFC announced that they were shifting from a planned ranking based system to a new tiered plan based on tenure. The more fighters fight for Zuffa promotions, the more they get paid. But just how much getting paid would entail wasn't public knowledge, until today. Now the word is out on the new UFC tiers which promise a minimum of $2,500 for fighters with 1-5 fights, and $40,000 for champions, with everyone else falling in between.
Compared with what many fighters were making, it's not a whole lot, and some took to Twitter to voice their displeasure:
Wow 2500$ for my next fight for reebok sponsorship. ....i mad twice that off 1 sponsor my last fight!!!! Sucks!— Roger Narvaez (@Silverback316) May 6, 2015
I've made six figures in sponsorship in each of my last 6 fights https://t.co/gotToaSDJh— Brendan Schaub (@BrendanSchaub) May 6, 2015
$70 million looking kinda weak http://t.co/y8Y8ZP1svk?— Chris Kelades (@keladesmma) May 6, 2015
I understand the reasoning given for the Reebok deal, but the deal has to make sense for at least 80% of the fighters in regards to tiers— Aljamain Sterling (@FunkMaster_UFC) May 6, 2015
For me, I barely got any sponsorship money, but Im ok w/not whoring myself out to 6-7 companies to look NASCAR. New system= half my earnings— Aljamain Sterling (@FunkMaster_UFC) May 6, 2015
Other fighters took a more pragmatic, and for a few, down right positive, approach:
Cody Gibson (@TheRenegade559) May 6, 2015
Definitely need to get more fights booked...according to what counts, I'm only at 6 since 2011...definitely not enough!!— Sarah Kaufman (@mmasarah) May 6, 2015
Reebok sponsorship deal is more money than I got paid fighting on European shows,would I like more hell yea but who wouldn't #stayhumble— Robert Whiteford (@Flyinjudoka) May 6, 2015
Reports are out that these initial number represent a baseline of what the UFC will distribute through the Reebok deal, but that they hope to up the totals through other deals further down the road. Still for fighters like Brendan Schaub and James Krause, they're going to have a long way to go before they can bridge the tens of thousands of dollars those fighters claim they're going to be missing out on.