Last week, the UFC announced how their fighters will be paid based on their new partnership with Reebok. Following the announcement, several UFC fighters expressed their displeasure with the system, as the UFC’s deal with Reebok will ultimately cause the fighters to lose their deals with other companies, which will cause some of them to take a substantial cut in pay.
Former UFC middleweight contender Chael Sonnen weighed in on the UFC’s new deal with Reebok, and unlike the majority of the UFC fighters, he’s in favor of the deal, saying that the fighters never should have been allowed to go out and get their own sponsors.
“As fighters, we never should have been able to get our own sponsors. No executive producers of a show, whether it’s the silver screen or your television set, allows paid talent to come in and then have outside sponsors. If you watch Saturday Night Live and a guy shows up in a Nike shirt, you can bet your a** that NBC got the check for that Nike shirt and had wardrobe put it on that talent. Nowhere in the world does this happen.
“If you pay for the camera and the lights and venues and take all the risk and are the entrepreneurs, you get all of the revenue. [UFC President] Dana White broke that cycle a number of years ago because the UFC was so small that he was ashamed of what he was having to pay his guys. So he said, ‘Get money wherever you can. I’ll approve every sponsor, and I want you guys to have every dollar.’ I was there when he gave that speech to the fighters in 2005.”
UFC announced their partnership with Reebok back in December, but at the time, the details were lacking.
As previously mentioned, the UFC revealed the deal’s pay scale last week, and it’s based on seniority. Fighters with 1-5 UFC bouts will receive $2,500, fighters with 6-10 UFC bouts will receive $5,000, fighters with 11-15 UFC bouts will receive $10,000, 16-20 UFC bouts gets a fighter $15,000, and more than 20 UFC bouts will get a fighter $20,000. Additionally, the UFC title contenders will receive $30,000 while the champions will receive $40,000.
Sonnen — who hasn’t been an active UFC fighter for about a year — isn’t impacted at all by the UFC’s deal with Reebok. However, if he was still active, he’d fall in the 11-15 range, which would make him $10,000 per fight.
[Image via Ethan Miller / Getty Images]