UFC 189 was a momentous event.
One of the best title fights of all time took place between "Ruthless" Robbie Lawler and Rory
"Waterboy" "Ares" "Red King" MacDonald. In addition, the "Notorious" Conor McGregor blasted a fading Chad "Money" Mendes to grab an interim strap and the featured line up, top to bottom, was one of the most entertaining fight cards in years.
It was also the first event for the promotion with Reebok as the exclusive sponsor of the fighters.
Much has already been talked about how this would affect the athletes. Many fighters themselves weighed in on the issue, and while some were perfectly happy inking their own Reebok deal, not having to chase dollars themselves or worry about shady businessmen not paying up, a vocal contingent weren't thrilled with all the money they'd be losing or the look of the new uniforms.
As it turns out, there's another group of UFC contractors who said goodbye to all of its sponsors, and unfortunately, it won't be getting a dime from Reebok to compensate for the lost income.
@InMyMMAOpinion Brother, I lost everything regarding sponsors from pay to a nice vest! Now I have no fees and a generic vest.— Jacob Stitch Duran (@StitchDuran) July 13, 2015
That's legendary cut man Jacob Duran, who talked to John Nash over at Bloody Elbow:
It's a solid shot. I got paid on a monthly basis so it definitely added up. I made really good money on that sponsorship so it's kind of a shocker to transition. This is what I do full time. I also do boxing and the pay scale is a little different there. The fighters pay you directly in boxing, where in MMA it's the promoters that pay you to work the event instead of with the individual boxers. With boxers, especially when you're working for the top dogs, you make more, so the sponsorship money was nice to have [in MMA]. So I might have to start looking more at boxers again. It's not highly recommended to work for another [MMA] promotion. Even though we are independent contractors, it's an unwritten rule.
Imagine being at your full-time job and then suddenly taking a huge pay cut while you're doing the same work, especially when what you're doing is a skilled profession. Talk about a tough pill to swallow! Also of note, UFC is apparently willing to blackball independent contractors from plying their trade with other organizations.
That's disconcerting, to say the least.
We told our concerns to our higher ups who brought them to their higher ups, but we were informed it's a no-go. We were told there's nothing left in the kitty for us, so there wasn't much we could do. I really love working the MMA circuit. I really love working with the fighters and the UFC, but I also have a family to support. So do I start focusing more on seminars? Do I start giving my business card more to boxers?
If we start seeing less (or none) of Duran, who keeps the finest fighters in the world ready to go in between rounds, it's a loss for the fans. Next time you see a doctor stoppage due to a bad cut and we're seeing a new cut person in there, just wonder what might have been.
For more on the UFC-Reebok deal click here.
MMA Video: Dana White on the new Reebok kits