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The New Reebok Fighter Payout Structure Has Been Revealed and Boy Is It Something


(To put the Reebok deal in terms Jon Jones might understand, he just went from being able to total a Lexus per fight to only a pre-owned Acura per fight.)

Late last year, it was announced that the UFC had inked a 6 year/$70 million exclusive sponsorship deal with Reebok that would not only change how its fighters presented themselves, but how they could obtain sponsors moving forward as well. Gone were the days wherein a fighter/manager could secure as many (pre-approved) sponsors as possible per fight, and in its place was a tiered system dependent solely on the opinions of a group of “experts” who quite literally could not be less informed.

As has become the case with most of the UFC’s newly-instigated policies, it took a couple tries before the world’s premiere fight organization was able to get it (mostly) right. So the rankings-based payout system was scrapped in favor of a structure that “rewarded” fighters with bigger cuts of the action based on the number of fights they had while competing under the Zuffa-owned Strikeforce, WEC, and UFC.

Earlier today, UFC fighter Cody Gibson tweeted an image of the new payout system which goes into effect on July 6th. And boy is it something.

So um….yeah.

As Gibson stated, the only people the Reebok deal does seem to benefit are the lowest tier of fighters, most of whom have/had trouble finding sponsors due to their lack of name power. So good for them.

For everyone else, however, it’s hard not to see this new structure — infinitely superior to the previous one as it may be — as anything other than a total screwjob. Twenty-thousand dollars for a 20-fight veteran? Is that some kind of joke? Seeing someone make it 10 fights in the UFC is downright inspiring, but finding a 20-fight UFC veteran who currently *isn’t* riding a losing streak and giving them that chump change is like finding a unicorn and using its horn as a hatrack, to quote a more eloquent man than myself.

Look, I don’t want to leap to any ill-informed conclusions here, but how are guys like Eddie Alvarez (1 UFC fight) going to take this massive cut in pay? Established fighters like Carlos Condit (15 UFC/WEC fights) and Brendan Schaub (11 UFC fights) all the way to middle-of-the-packers like Luke Barnatt (5 UFC fights) have publicly admitted to making upwards of 70k a fight before in sponsorship money, and now they’ll be making 40k at best?

Now, it is worth mentioning that these figures are apparently “minimums” that will hopefully increase should the UFC find other sponsors (*makes wanking motion with hand*), but just look at Zane Simon’s breakdown of things:

Interestingly, using the figures from Reed Kuhn’s FightNomics Blog (which show that about 61% of the UFC roster falls into the lowest sponsorship tier), the new figures only total up to about $7.5 million $7 million a year of the reported $70 million/6 year Reebok deal initially announced back in December, figuring for 20 title fights a year. That’s a lot less than it seems like the annual numbers should shake out to, especially when just a couple weeks ago the Boston Herald reported that the tiers were expected to pay out along the following lines:

0-5 fights: $5,000
6-10 Fights: $8,000-$10,000
11-15 Fights: $12,000-$15,000
16-20 Fights: $18,000-$20,000

So, to summarize: This deal is garbage. It has always been garbage. Everyone from the media to the fighters themselves know its garbage. But because we are all garbage people with garbage spines, we will continue to let these kinds of garbage policies go by unchecked out of the fear that we will lose our garbage jobs.

Welcome to the show, everyone.

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