Gegard Mousasi announced earlier today (July 10, 2017) that he inked a six-fight deal with Bellator MMA after competing inside the Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) Octagon for the last four years (full story here). Though he admitted his new deal was a better contract than what he had with UFC, “The Dreamcatcher” revealed that respect and better treatment, not money, was the motivating factor in his decision.
Plus, he is no longer bound to the oft-criticized Reebok sponsorship deal with UFC, as he took to “The MMA Hour“ to slam the company in more ways than one.
“Let’s be honest, Reebok was there to sell the company. It was never to help the fighters out. Reebok became UFC because they wanted to sell it for $4 billion. It’s as simple as that, to make the sport more global. Just to sell it, but it was terrible for the fighters. No one complains about Reebok because if you complain, you are going to get, you know, it will get messy, they may fire you. People cannot talk about it and say ‘Reebok sucks.’ But we all know the truth. They cannot even make good tanks or shorts. What can I say, it’s the same thing. I don’t know. I was not happy with the Reebok deal. I think 99-percent of the fighters were not happy with the Reebok deal, Reebok is not happy with the deal, UFC is not happy with the Reebok. But it is what it is.”
We know how Bellator MMA head cheese Scott Coker feels about the whole Reebok deal. For the record, Mousasi banked a “whopping” $10,000 from Reebok in his last fight. And while he appreciates the open sponsorship market under the Bellator umbrella, he says he’d prefer to work with one big sponsor that believes in him and works with him as opposed to having a dozen or so logos plastered all over his shorts.
Furthermore, Mousasi wasn’t too convinced that the new WME-IMG ownership knows exactly what they’re doing in its first year as owners of a fight promotion.
“Reebok is bad for UFC and I don’t know if the new owners realize what they are doing but this is a different entertainment. This is fighting. I think with the Fertittas, they made the sport, it’s a different attitude maybe. Bellator is coming 100 percent. It’s going to get bigger. If you have Coca Cola you have Pepsi, you have Burger King and McDonalds and I think this is good for the athletes. They are signing big names, big fights and 100 percent they will be close (to UFC) in a couple of years.”
Mousasi leaves UFC on a five-fight win streak, including victories over Vitor Belfort and Chris Weidman. Still, despite his impressive run, he never received the big payday or championship fight he so desired.
The same can’t be said about these two men.
Gegard couldn’t confirm whether or not he would get an instant title shot for his Bellator MMA debut, but he is adamant he is going for both the Middleweight and Light Heavyweight straps.