When Gegard Mousasi left the UFC in 2017, he was on a five-fight win streak. Four of those victories ended via TKO/KO against notable names like Chris Weidman and Vitor Belfort.
The same year, Mousasi signed a six-fight deal with Bellator MMA. It guaranteed him upfront pay, a higher per-fight pay, a potential cut in profits if he fights on a PPV card, and the opportunity to engage in other combat sports endeavors like boxing, to name a few.
The reigning Bellator middleweight champion recently sat down with Robin Black for Haymakers, where he spoke about one of the many gripes that a lot of his contemporaries at the time had: the Reebok sponsorship deal.
“You took those away, you put Reebok. All the money went to UFC. Paying a fighter that can make $200K a fight, then it goes to $10K (because of) Reebok. That’s stealing from the fighter,” he said.
“They could’ve said, ‘OK, f—k that.’ And then they killed the whole sponsorships, everything.”
Mousasi already spoke about the Reebok deal in the past, saying it was used by then-owners to help sell the company for $4 billion. After that said sale, Gegard says the UFC could’ve at least shared a piece of the pie with the fighters.
“They could’ve sent every fighter $10K checks as an employee (as a) thank you for where we are now (after the sale). $10K is nothing,” he said. “They took the sponsorship, they put Reebok. I was making $6K with Reebok.”
“(What) they were giving the fighters, it wasn’t always the best. They could’ve done a better job. You don’t have to be that greedy.”
Ultimately, Mousasi says he understands that it is the nature of the business.
“I’m thankful to UFC, to be honest. After Strikeforce… they bought Strikeforce, I went there, they gave me opportunity. I’m not bashing on them. I’m still thankful,” he explained.
“I can understand profit goes (first). But my thing is more (about) treating your employees better, and then the business. But maybe I would go bankrupt (if I did that).”
The 36-year-old Mousasi (49-7-2) has so far defended the Bellator title twice since winning it in 2020. He is set for his third title defense against Johnny Eblen at Bellator 282 on June 24th.