Ben Askren has criticised the Reebok fighter pay prior to his UFC debut against Robbie Lawler this weekend at UFC 235, labelling the $3,500 he will make as ‘terrible.’
Currently, the UFC’s Reebok deal pays fighters based on experience in the octagon, meaning the more fights a fighter has, the more money they will make. As Askren will be making his debut for the promotion on Saturday night, “Funky” falls into the first tier of fighter pay.
Speaking to MMA Fighting at the UFC 235 media day, Askren said he didn’t actually think about the small amount of money he would make with Reebok when he decided to join the UFC.
“I only have to wear Reebok to this,” Askren said “And to the open workout, and to the weigh ins, and to the fight, all that stuff… They’re not paying me enough though.”
“I got put in that damn first bracket,” he added. “I didn’t think about that [when I signed with the UFC]. When I thought about it, I probably should have negotiated the Reebok money up ’cause they’re not paying me enough. I think it’s $3,500 only? It’s pretty terrible.”
The undefeated Askren has spent the majority of his career fighting for Bellator and ONE Championship, winning the welterweight title in both those promotions, although the welterweight limit for ONE was 185-pounds. Askren said he was making more sponsorship money then he would for this fight even in his early days for Bellator.
“Sponsorship’s been all over the place,” he recounted. “Even when I was a nobody in Bellator, I made $20,000 on a fight. Those were the wild days. Back then, guys in the UFC were making six figures on sponsorship stuff.”
UFC 235 takes place this Saturday, March 2nd, at the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas. The main event will feature a light heavyweight title fight between Jon Jones and Anthony Smith, with Tyron Woodley facing Kamaru Usman in the co-main event.