Chris Camozzi takes stand against lowball fight sponsor offers

March 23, 2013

Chris Camozzi made some headlines pre-UFC 158 with a blog post which outlined a pattern of low offers made by sponsors.  Camozzi called out the fighters and managers that take low offers which lower the standard for everyone.

Camozzi wrote that despite UFC 158 being a big card it did not mean a windfall when it comes to sponsorship.  His blog post, found on his web page, did not request the UFC do something about the lowball sponsors offers or the sponsors to cease its tactics but the fighters to turn down such low offers.  As an example, he cited that a couple years ago a walkout shirt could make $10K if a fighter appeared on the main card of a PPV.  He stated that for UFC 158 he was offered $3K.

In the same post, Camozzi indicated that he is against a union as that is a “lazy” way for allowing another to set a baseline.  He called for up and coming fighters not to take low offers from sponsors.  He states that he turned down more money at UFC 158 to make the point.  He also reminded fighters that the sponsors paid between 5 and 7 figures for “permission” from the UFC to have ads displayed on fighters and its the sponsors that need the fighters not the other way around.

Payout Perspective:

Camozzi’s post is interesting as he’s requesting other fighters to “leave money on the table” in order to take a stand.  This sounds good but for the present conditions in the UFC, it’s a hard proposition to follow.  In a crowded fighter roster, one loss could spell the end of your UFC career.  From an up and coming fighter’s perspective, if you do not capitalize now, you may never have that chance.  If you are a manager, one would hope you are trying to get as many sponsors as you can for your fighter.  But, if you are on the prelims, one can imagine it being harder to find sponsors.  So, if posed with an offer that is less, do you take it or turn it down waiting for a better offer?  An offer that may never come.

Camozzi does make a point.  At times, the UFC will be making more money from its sponsor fee than the fighters will from the sponsors.  Sponsors need fighters to advertise their brand and fighters should be compensated accordingly.

One of the problems is that UFC production has cut walkouts which curbs the amount of time a walkout shirt is seen on television.  On FX, Fuel and Fox shows, some fights are cut to where the fight banner is barely seen and the fighter doesn’t have his shirt on.  From this perspective, the amount of time seen by a viewing audience has gone down.

It will be interesting to see if anyone takes Camozzi’s call for fighter solidarity on this issue.  It would be a hard thing to do for a young fighter with an uncertain future.  But, Camozzi is bringing up issues that will affect a fighter’s future.

10 Responses to “Chris Camozzi takes stand against lowball fight sponsor offers”

  1. BrainSmasher on March 24th, 2013 5:26 AM

    Well the UFC added the fee to weed out these low ball sponsors. So as low as these offers might be they used to be worse for everyone. I don’t think his idea will be used by many. When the UFC added the fee. There was a to. Of fighters who cried about it because they lost their cheap mom and pop sponsor. At the tine it wasn’t uncommon to sponsor a fighter by giving him a few hundred bucks in training supplies. Now sponsor money is up for everyone especially the top guys.

    Also I disagree with him. Sponsors dont need fighters a y more than fighters need sponsors. That’s crazy.there is many other ways to advertise than sponsoring a fighter. Which I think doesnt have much Return on Investment.

    This is a two way street. I was going to sponsor a local fighter on small shows. Mainly as a way to support him even though it wouldn’t help my business because the line of work I’m in. But in the end I didnt do it because fighters just use sponsors and never appreciate you helping them. If I give this guy money on small shows when he is broke I would hope he would remember that. When he is in the big shows. But they dont. You can no longer afford them and as soon as they got in a position to get you some recognition. They drop you. Look at the top fighters today. Where is the sponsors that paid them on their way up? Maybe those sponsors can’t get in the UFC but they can show some loyalty outside the cage?

  2. Matt C. on March 24th, 2013 11:15 AM

    I am a NASCAR fan and often read about the value of just getting a product’s name and label seen on a car or driver. There is some interesting data out there on all the different variables. It would be interesting to see some value data like that on MMA sponsorships.

    I done a quick search and this is a sample of the data I’m referring to. It is a couple years old though.

    http://www.sportsbusinessdaily.com/Journal/Issues/2010/12/20101220/2010-NASCAR-Brand-Leaderboard/Lower-ad-rates-drive-down-exposure-value.aspx?hl=NASCAR%20Brand%20Leaderboard&sc=1

  3. jake on March 25th, 2013 5:46 AM

    How about temporary tattoos on the figher’s back for the sponsors? They would get much more air time than the walk in shirts.

  4. Fightnomics on March 25th, 2013 10:51 AM

    It’s a tough time for the fighters. Locker room bonuses are down, sponsorship benchmarks are down, and roster cuts are making careers short-lived. The UFC sponsor fee indeed cleaned up the level of quality of sponsors in a macro-sense, but also killed some of the competition and supplier power of the fighters to choose among them. Whether we want to admit it or not, the high sponsor fees of the late 2000’s were significantly inflated by upstart MMA lifestyle brands that were completely unrealistic with their marketing spending, and justifiable short lived. The fighters essentially collected an idiot tax from all the wannabee Tapout brands for several years there during the peak.

    An interesting trend that we’ll likely see in the future (probably on soccer players first) is the use of digital marketing. Imagine a green screen patch on the jersey of an athlete that can be overlaid with logos depending on the country/language/market/channel the game is being shown in.

    In theory, the same could be done for fight shorts – so Brazilian fans see only native brands in Portuguese on their screen, while Americans watch the exact same live fight and see their own brands. Flexibility and optimization in marketing should be more valuable to everyone. Probably still a few years off though….

  5. Jason Cruz on March 25th, 2013 12:57 PM

    @jake: At first it sounds ridiculous but the tattoos might be an alternative if the UFC allows it. But, realistically I see there being a problem with the fact that most fighters have a lot of tattoos as it is.

  6. Jason Cruz on March 25th, 2013 12:58 PM

    @MattC: Interesting stuff and thanks for the link

  7. Brain Smasher on March 25th, 2013 4:09 PM

    The tattoo thing would be a good idea for some non inked up white guys. I dont think the UFC would allow it because it would look tacky and distract from the paid advertisements in the case. But in smaller shows where it was allowed you would really get your monies worth on the back of a GnP wrestler would be on top most of the fight.

  8. Action Movie Fanatix on March 27th, 2013 6:14 AM

    The tattoo thing was done a few years ago on the first Elite XC event on CBS.

  9. Saldathief on March 28th, 2013 7:50 PM

    The whole UFC/MMA sponsor thing is basically charity for the fighters, you cant even read 95% of the crap on their banners or trunks anyhow. So why bother paying a fighter anything when there is so much crap written all over everything. Its unbelievably stupid and moronic, its a marketing failure for the most part imo. Even the mat has way to much crap on it at times. It makes the sport look cheap, desperate, messy, and unprofessional. No one really cares about that crap they are advertising anyhow.

  10. Random Dude on April 1st, 2013 4:35 PM

    MTV’s The Jersey Shore sold more Affliction and Tapout shirts than MMA ever did. Old methods of advertising don’t work in this modern world. Expecting shirt sales to go through the roof because CB Dollaway wears something for 60 seconds on the main card is an old style of advertising that won’t cut it these days. This is not the 80s…

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