Reactions to the Reebok payout structure are still trickling in, after Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) revealed just how much its athletes can expect to earn (see it here) while competing in Reebok-branded uniforms.
And the majority of them were not positive.
That's something UFC CEO Lorenzo Fertitta anticipated. As he explained during yesterday's (May 6, 2015) press conference (via FOX Sports), it's impossible to make everyone happy. On the bright side, the payments are guaranteed money, which means fighters will no longer have to run down sponsors to get their cash.
"Certainly, we knew going into this thing that you're not going to make everybody happy. That's an impossibility. What we tried to do was get as much input as we possibly could by talking to managers and fighters over a 12 to 18 month period and literally creating a database for where we felt the market was for fighters that were at different tiers. We thought we did a pretty good job of replicating the compensation that they were getting. Also, when you look at it from a risk/reward standpoint, these are guaranteed payments. They're not going to have to run down sponsors, maybe not get paid. This money will be paid 10 days after the event and they've adhered to the athlete outfitting policy."
Still, Fertitta is adamant that the majority of fighters UFC execs spoke to, long before the deal took effect, seemed to be excited about the potential opportunities that can come as a result of the deal.
"A lot of the provisions in the policy are as a result of discussions we had with athletes. I'm sure there will be those that aren't excited about the policy, but I can tell you that the vast majority of athletes that we've spoken to are excited about the opportunity. They are excited about getting equipment designed specifically for the sport that they get to keep, they are excited about the uniforms, and they are excited about the possibility of selling merchandise with their name on it."
Aside from fighters having to wear Reebok uniforms, his or her fight team will be required to do so, as well, if they want any part in the pre- and post-fight activities. Unfortunately, they will not be paid for doing so.
As far as "replicating the compensation fighters were getting," Brendan Schaub disagrees, as he revealed that he made six figures in sponsorship money alone, just for his last six fights. And based on the new structure, he'll be making far less, to the tune of getting a $10,000 check from Reebok 10 days after each bout.
So you can understand why some of the athletes are bitter, right?