Now that Ryan Bader has left the UFC light heavyweight division behind in favor of Bellator MMA, he’ll have the immediate opportunity to step outside the boundaries of UFC’s sponsorship deal with Reebok and earn even more money. According to “Darth” himself, competing under the Bellator banner is going to allow him to make a ton of more money from sponsors.
“It will be three to four times what I was getting with Reebok, for sure,” said Bader in a recent interview with MMA Junkie. “I had a couple really good blue-chip sponsors that have stood by us through the whole Reebok deal that are still there – like the American Ethanols and things of that sort. Then we got some new sponsors coming on board. We’re full for this fight.”
Luckily for Bader, and his growing sponsorship stable, he’ll get the chance to fight for the title his first time out when he takes on fellow UFC defector and current Bellator light heavyweight champion Phil Davis on June 24 from New York City. Bader defeated Davis in UFC via split decision back in 2015.
“People are like, ‘Oh, you’re in Bellator, so it’s going to be harder to find sponsors,'” added Bader. “That wasn’t the case at all. There’s more opportunity in that aspect, and we’re full. I’m getting much more money than I was in the UFC in sponsorship revenue. I’m feeling good, I’m excited, and I’m happy to be in Bellator. I’m coming for the belt, and I can’t wait. I’m going to make the best of it.”
While Bader isn’t situating himself around the absolute best fighters in the world, he’s setting himself up to earn a little extra on the side against a reputable champion. There isn’t much more the 33-year-old could ask for in his first Bellator fight and his first venture outside of MMA’s No. 1 promotion.