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Bobby Lashley on UFC + Reebok deal: Fighters are going to have to stand up for themselves

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One of Bellator's most recognizable name fighters shares his thoughts on the UFC's recent move to line up their fighters with Reebok sponsorship.

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There are some fighters that are going to do better with their in cage sponsors than others. If you wanted to pin point a fighter outside the UFC who probably makes more on sponsorship than he does in purse money, Bobby Lashley might be a fair bet. With his pro-wrestling career, his massive physique, and the benefits of being a heavyweight (which almost always guarantees a feature main-card slot), he just feels like the kind of fighter that does pretty well with his money outside the ring. So, it only seemed right to get his thoughts on the UFC's recent Reebok deal. One that has seen some fighters overjoyed just to be getting a consistent extra check on fight night, but many more claiming that this is hitting them hard right in the pocket.

Lashley spoke to Bloody Elbow about how he feels about the UFC's sponsor limitations, and what he feels fighters should be doing in response:

"I understand business to a certain point, but I think at the same time, with this the fighters are going to have to kinda stand up for themselves. I understand everybody wants to say, 'The UFC this and that,' but I think at this point in time they've gotta form some type of union to keep these things from happening. It's one of those things, I mean it's a double edged sword. You get an opportunity in the UFC, they're gonna pay you a little bit more, but at the same time there are regulations and restrictions. So, I know some of the guys are kind of begging for [a union] or hoping for it, but it's not gonna happen until everybody sticks together, kinda comes together and says, 'Hey, we need to make something happen.'"

But it's like, how much power are they really gonna have? Because their name is only as important as the UFC makes it.

"I've dealt with it before in big business and it's hard to do, because really, there's certain people that really make the PPVs and really sell the PPVs, that's why their names are in the headliners. And those guys are taken care of, heavily. So, if a union is formed, these guys get together and say, 'Oh, let's start a union.' Those guys that are taken care of heavily, they're making millions, they're gonna be like, 'Uhhhhh, we don't wanna go over there and join the union because that's gonna pull me down.' But those are the guys that sell PPVs. So, it's almost like the mid-card guys and the lower card guys are the ones that are gonna have to step up. But it's like, how much power are they really gonna have? Because their name is only as important as the UFC makes it. And then if a bunch of guys get together and say, 'Okay, let's start this union,' then [the UFC] can just say, 'Okay, you guys are gone and we're going to bring in the 100,000 guys that would love to fight in the UFC.' So, it's almost gonna take those guys that are making the top dollar to get together and say, 'Hey look, we gotta do what's right. We may take a little hit because of it, but we're gonna have to do what's right and come down and help everybody else so it's an even playing field.'

Lashley also spoke about his future in MMA and where his goals for the sport lie. Mostly, it seems, he's got his sights set on the Bellator heavyweight title:

"I'd like the Bellator title, you know? My contract is pretty much set, so there's not going to be any swaying as to, 'Okay if I fight this person, then I fight this person...' The fights are going to be the fights. But, the one thing I do kinda want to get after is, there are some bigger names in there and then the title is wide open, especially in the HW division, for somebody to step up and really go after it. So, I'm not going to keep going back and forth, back and forth like I did my entire career. This time I'm really just focusing. That's why I re-signed with Bellator and said, 'Okay, we're going to do a multiple fight deal and we're going to go after it.' I want to set my targets for that title and that's what I'm doing. I'm training my ass off, I'm working with the right people, and I'm training with the right people. So, I want to see that title in my hands."

Lashley is set to take on Dan Charles on the main card of Bellator 138, this Friday, June 19th in St. Louis, Missouri. You can follow him on Twitter @fightbobby.