When Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) revealed its landmark sponsorship deal with Reebok, one that would eliminate all other sponsors from the Octagon, it promised to compensate fighters based on their media rankings (see them fluctuate here).
As expected, that went over like a lead balloon.
Especially considering the subjective nature of the ranking system. Sure, UFC President Dana White promised to recruit "ethical guys" to make sure everything was on the up-and-up, but the payment plan was still considered erratic and top heavy.
That's why the promotion picked up its kaiser blade (some folks call it a sling blade) and took it behind the woodshed, only to return with a revamped system that works on tenure, helpfully explained by Sports Business Journal biz whiz Alex Silverman (via The Underground):
When the UFC released the initial draft of its outfitting policy in January, it stipulated that fighters' compensation for a given bout would be based on their rankings. But based on feedback collected during the information sessions, the UFC has opted instead to institute a tiered system based on tenure, or number of UFC bouts fought. Fighters also will be credited for bouts sanctioned by World Extreme Cage Fighting and Strikeforce, both of which were purchased and shuttered by UFC parent company Zuffa.
The new system places combatants into tiers of 1-5 fights, 6-10 fights, 11-15 fights, 16-20 fights and more than 21 fights. The only exception applies to title fights, as both title challengers and reigning champions will receive greater compensation. The UFC declined to share specific dollar figures for each class.
The deal takes effect this July (sneak peek here).
White insists the promotion won't make a profit from aligning itself with Reebok and that all of the money generated will be distributed among its athletes. That was of little consolation to some fighters (like this one), who are hemorrhaging cash flow as we speak.
It will be interesting to hear what the talent has to say this summer. That said, what do you think of the change in payout ... fair or foul?