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The highly criticized Reebok deal just got worse for UFC fighters.
As if having their right to negotiate independent sponsorship deals on banners and fightwear stripped away unilaterally was not enough, a move that cost many fighters tens of thousands of dollars per fight, now, getting the remaining pay is dependent on following both media obligation and a fighter code of conduct- all without any input from the fighters themselves. This change has, in fact, been in place since the beginning of 2018. Via MMAFighting.com:
The altered policy is now called “promotional guidelines” and is an amalgamation of all three things: conduct, media obligations and outfitting, per a document obtained by MMA Fighting. Fighter compensation for this is no longer called Reebok pay or outfitting pay — it’s called a “fight week incentive payment.” The changes went into effect Jan. 1.
The UFC alleges that these obligations are what fighters are required to do during fight week anyway, and thus don’t represent any change. In fact, the altered payment tiers do bring a little extra money to the bottom two classes of fighters, those with five fights or fewer in the Octagon. It’s a far cry from the earning potential they used to possess, but it’s something.
“The UFC Promotional Guidelines is a policy that groups together policies and procedures already adopted and followed by UFC athletes during fight week, therefore these guidelines are not introducing any new elements aside from a new associated incentive payment,” the official said. … “This compensation model is new and compensation was allocated based on available funds and strategically placed to support the largest number of athletes.”
However, some of the fighters are not happy with the new requirements being tied to their Reebok pay. A group of them, headed by Leslie Smith, are attempting to gain reclassification as employees, and see this as added incentive for this push, and evidence that they are not being treated as independent contractors.
“I strongly believe that we are employees,” said Smith, a UFC women’s bantamweight fighter. “Strongly believe. In fact, the promotional guidelines that just came out show an astounding amount of control. That’s definitely something that when we get to that point, we will be entering as evidence of one of the reasons that we are employees.”
According to the UFC, the fighters, despite not being able to wear their own sponsors during fight week, are not getting paid to wear Reebok. That’s simply not the way the company sees it.
“Athletes were never compensated for wearing Reebok,” the official said. “Athletes received Athlete Outfitting Policy payments for complying with UFC’s Athlete Outfitting Policy. Athlete Outfitting remains an important pillar of the fight week experience.”
However, the potential for this money being withheld from fighters does seem to run counter to Dana White’s promise when the Reebok deal was signed that all the money would go to the fighters.
“[Fighters] are getting all the money from the Reebok deal,” White told TSN in 2015. “All the money goes to them. What better of a deal could you cut for the guys? It’s an investment in the future of the sport.”
When asked last week if that was still the case, if all the money from the Reebok deal was going to fighters, the UFC official gave a non-answer.
“UFC’s partnership with Reebok, the global brand’s official outfitter, will continue to focus on the creation and development of world-class MMA product and the global outfitting of all UFC athletes and their cornermen and women,” the official said.
It is no wonder Project Spearhead is using the latest Promotional Guidelines as fodder for their union campaign.
UFC Fighters, please take the time to read the revised Promtional Guidelines, which were imposed on us as opposed to being negotiated. A quick look at the “Penalties” the UFC may impose at its sole discretion should motivate all of us to sign @ProjSpearhead authorization cards. pic.twitter.com/V1hFXTCdBj— Project Spearhead (@ProjSpearhead) February 26, 2018
I cannot wait to see the rematch between Robert Whittaker and Yoel Romero.
Important fight at featherweight! My money is on Joe Benavidez.
Sergio Pettis vs. Joseph Benavidez set for UFC 225.— Sub-Zero MMA (@SubZeroMMA) February 26, 2018
Dana White and Brock Lesnar were talking over the weekend and I have to say, this picture threw me for a moment.
I’ve tapped to worse.
I love a good takedown:
Rampage Jackson isn’t taking Joe Schilling seriously
Darrion Caldwell defends his bantamweight title in Bellator this weekend- here is what he is capable of.
Fight week baby! Time to defend my life @bellatormma ・・・ #ProtectYaNeck when you wrestle with @thewolfmma! The champ puts the bantamweight title on the line against @leandrohigomma at #Bellator195 next Friday, March 2nd - LIVE & FREE on @paramountnetwork @alliancemmagym @badboybrands @morethanafuel @9fivers @healthymommamealprep @reallivingholistichealth @oakgrovetechnologies
Speaking of Bellator, it has worked out pretty well for Gegard Mousasi so far.
UFC 200 in July 2016: Gegard Mousasi beats Thiago Santos in a fight streamed on the Fight Pass prelims— Mike Bohn (@MikeBohnMMA) February 26, 2018
Bellator 200 in May 2018: Gegard Mousasi challenges Rafael Carvalho for the Bellator middleweight title
“It’s all about balance” for George St. Pierre. Balance and puns.
I decided to fix my jet lag by training in my hotel’s gym. It’s all about balance! pic.twitter.com/uThepG5G2l— Georges St-Pierre (@GeorgesStPierre) February 26, 2018
What I think I look like at the gym:
What I actually look like:
Paige VanZant decided to get real on social media. Being injured does suck.
Andre Fili is critical of Dominick Cruz’s commentary on his teammate Jeremy Stephens’ controversial finish.
Derrick Lewis found this and yes, this guy is stone cold.
Sage likes Quinoa because of course he does.
Me and Maverick eating some Quinoa, chugging some GlutaLean and going to hit the cardio pic.twitter.com/b06SlsNfmJ— Sage Northcutt (@sagenorthcutt) February 25, 2018
Jeremy Stephens evidently KOed Josh Emmett via Murder. pic.twitter.com/o0zsqTubaL— MMA mania (@mmamania) February 25, 2018
Weird video time.
Holzken training his secret weapon to shock Callum Smith pic.twitter.com/NjvODCqPpQ— Rian Scalia (@rian5ca) February 24, 2018
I would watch Ronda Rousey in any real contest over scripted acting, any day of the week.
Nick Diaz has the support of his people.
Slips, Rips, and KO Clips
Paddy Pimblett got a monster flying triangle/armbar over the weekend.
This throw-to-knee transition is so pleasing to watch
This leglock battle was intense!
Raymond Daniels is a talented fighter
Came across a little throw back to my days in Chuck Norris’s World Combat League. I had to fight one of my now good friends @eljava1 wow, how time flies. #repost @freestylefighter with @get_repost ・・・ @rd_goat vs. - - (2008) • Daniels improves his undefeated kickboxing record to 15-0 with a first round KO. • • • #raymonddaniels #kickboxing #karate #ufc #mma #mmafighter #mmatraining #fights #fighting #fighters #fighter #fight #boxing #boxingtraining #wrestling #judo #muaythai #muaythaifighter #bjj #bjjlifestyle #ko #knockedout #knockout #martialarts #martialart #martialartist #combat #grappling
Don’t try this at home... or in an MMA fight where soccer kicks are legal.
Interesting strategy for an MMA fight. I think this fella is more accustomed to grappling matches. He may need to work on his stand up. - MMA content updated daily! - Regrann from @theprofight - @theprofight Konstantin Gluhov Mikhail Gazaev M-1 Challenge 44 (2013) Тот самый бой! Константин Глухов запрещённым ударом вырубает Михаила Газаева после 15 минут одного из самых противоречивых боев в истории ММА! Михаил Газаев после боя: «Мы развеваемся. Попал он, выиграл я, какие могут быть претензии»ъ
- Economist Paul Gift gave a summary and a different perspective on the anti-trust lawsuit
- Seven years ago, Chad Dundas posited that you should always cheat in MMA, and he’s still right.
Podcasts and Video
I spoke with economist Marshall Steinbaum about monopsony and the UFC lawsuit. Check us out on SoundCloud as well as iTunes and Stitcher on the official MMA Mania channel!
UFC on Fox 28 post-fight show! Follow MMA Mania on Youtube
The MMA Hour
Al Iaquinta talks Project Speahead and future fighting plans
Check out my interview with @ALIAQUINTA. We discuss his involvement in Project Spearhead, his #UFC223 bout against Paul Felder, what's next after Felder win or lose, real estate, and much more: https://t.co/6156QY1ZXd— Nick Baldwin (@NickBaldwinMMA) February 26, 2018
Alex Volkanovski is one of the most promising featherweight prospects in a division full of them.
Check out my interview with @alexvolkanovski, who defeated Jeremy Kennedy at #UFC221 earlier this month. We talk about finally getting back to his finish ways, what's next, and more: https://t.co/fk6ejfehVA— Nick Baldwin (@NickBaldwinMMA) February 26, 2018
Because of all the children that work there?
The US Senate has an assigned candy desk. pic.twitter.com/4MuksbtGyk— Quite Interesting (@qikipedia) February 25, 2018
I wish I was as athletic as this dog.