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Vadim Finkelchtein believes Reebok deal ‘took money from fighters’ pockets’

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M-1 Global founder Vadim Finkelchtein offered his thoughts on the Reebok deal and contrasted it against M-1’s sponsorship model in Russia.

Esther Lin

Once the compensation terms for the new Reebook apparel deal were released a few months ago, a slew of fighters publicly expressed their financial concerns while others even sought legal counsel and argued that the deal could fall under gender discrimination. So it was no surprise when several other promoters offered some choice words on the deal, the latest of which is M-1 Global founder Vadim Finkelchtein.

The longtime owner of the largest MMA promotion in Russia, Finkelchtein has experienced the pressures of operating a business and managing costs and restrictions in all forms. With regards to the Reebok deal, Vadim believes a compromise should have been reached with the fighters instead of a forced shift in structure.

"It looks like they took money from fighters' pockets," Finkelchtein told BloodyElbow.com. "I do not think this is right. If you found a big sponsor find a compromise with your fighters in order to make everyone feel comfortable. But UFC fighters are just pinned down to facts."

As was recently announced, fighters with 1-5 fights will make $2,500 per fight; 6-10 will make $5000; 11-15 fights get $10,000; 16-20 fights equals $15,000. Champions make $40,000 per fight.

The deal also made Reebok the exclusive brand for the UFC during Fight Week, which was a significant blow to many fighters who had established long-time deals with specific sponsors. While Vadim admit that M-1 Global and other promotions have all placed restrictions on certain sponsors, they were always willing to negotiate with their fighters privately to reach an agreement of sorts.

"Of course we do control what kind of sponsors a fighter can work with at our events," Vadim explained. "We can forbid him to represent some of them. But this is a very private matter and those questions are to be discussed separately with each fighter. It has only been just a few times that we banned sponsors."