UFC-Reebok announce 6 year sponsor deal

December 2, 2014

The UFC and Reebok announced the long-awaited fight uniform deal which will commence during International Fight Week July 2015.  The announcement came with many interesting details.

The UFC touted the announcement as its biggest non-broadcast contract ever.  Financial terms were not disclosed for the 6 year partnership which makes Reebok the exclusive uniform supplier and commercial outfitter.

One of the most compelling details of the deal is that fighter compensation will be tied directly with the UFC fighter rankings.  The rankings are often criticized, and there is no exact science to determine how fighters are ranked.  Moreover, unsaid but inferred from the structure, unranked fighters will benefit, little, if any from the deal.

Via ESPN:

The pay structure will allocate funds per fight, based on a tiered ranking system. Champions will receive the largest payment, followed by fighters ranked Nos. 1-5, 6-10, 11-15 and unranked. UFC’s official rankings are voted on by media outlets and are overseen by the company.

Starting with UFC 189, which coincides with International Fight Week, there will no longer be fight banners or any other types of sponsors aside from Reebok.  Fighters will be able to ascertain sponsorships outside of the Octagon but cannot be sponsored by any other company leading up to a fight or during it.

The UFC indicated that aside from “costs associated” with the sponsorship, the money goes directly to the fighters.

Here’s what we should expect at UFC 189 via MMA Junkie:

At each UFC event after the July rollout, a newly established team of UFC equipment managers will distribute to each fighter and cornerman a Reebok gear bag with fight shorts, walk-out jerseys, hoodies, T-shirts, fleece tops and bottoms, headwear, socks and shoes, among other items, which will be used throughout fight week and are intended for the athlete to keep after the event.

In addition, there is a charity component of the deal as a portion of the revenue from the UFC-Reebok line of products goes to Fight for Peace, a nonprofit aligned with the sportswear manufacturer.

The UFC indicated it had reached out to UFC fighters about this deal before it was announced.

The deal does not dismiss other sponsors, but one might assume that agents and managers will have a harder time finding sponsors for fighters outside of a UFC event.  Moreover, one of the prime attractions for most sponsors, the logo on the shirt/shorts, will go away.

Payout Perspective:

This is an interesting deal that will certainly garner scrutiny in the days to come.  For top-level fighters and current champions, the deal is favorable for them.  Of course, these are not the fighters to be concerned with as they have always be taken care of from various sponsors.  But, for those fighters that appear on prelims and Fight Nights, this new change could be a concern.  There are many unknowns at this point on what the pay structure will look like and only time will tell to see how fighters will benefit.  How much money will be allotted to fighters?

MMA Payout will have more on this deal.

7 Responses to “UFC-Reebok announce 6 year sponsor deal”

  1. Logical on December 2nd, 2014 2:30 PM

    “Financial terms were not disclosed for the 6 year partnership”.

    Of course they were not disclosed, you don’t want the fighters knowing by how much they are getting screwed 🙂

    “Fighters will be able to ascertain sponsorships outside of the Octagon but cannot be sponsored by any other company leading up to a fight or during it.”

    Now THIS will look very enticing to potential sponsors. As you know, sponsors just love throwing money away and not getting anything in return so this is FANTASTIC! I can see all the big money that the fighters will make when they are not training for the fight, doing promotional duties, weighing in, fighting or you know the very things that actually attract sponsors.

    “Fighter compensation will be tied directly with the UFC fighter rankings”

    Awesome, if you are not a good company man and not do what we say then we’ll take you of the rankings until you decide to give in (Just like with Nate Diaz).

    “There will no longer be fight banners or any other types of sponsors aside from Reebok. Moreover, one of the prime attractions for most sponsors, the logo on the shirt/shorts, will go away.”

    Dana: This is great for the fighters!!

  2. JF on December 2nd, 2014 2:58 PM

    Two things:

    1- How will the current sponsorship deals be terminated? Will there be penalties and if so, who will pay them?

    2- Fighters getting more sponsorship money according to rank… Ok. Who decides on the rankings? An independent association or the UFC itself? If you get a lot of PPV (like Chael Sonnen did) but stay lower in ranks you’ll get less than a zero-draw who’s ranked ahead of you? I’ll wait next year before I pass judgement but I on’t see how this is fantastic news for UFC fighters, Feels more like they will be even more dependent on Dana’s mood for their measly pay check.

  3. Jason Cruz on December 2nd, 2014 5:29 PM

    @JF: You bring up two good points.

    1. One would think that the UFC timed this so that all existing sponsor deals lapse by July 2015. One would think…

    2. Tying pay to the rankings appears to be a bad idea and will bring this whole deal under scrutiny. You bring up a good point. Say you are an exciting fighter, but loses close decisions. Logic would tell you that you would drop in rankings which hurts your earning potential. Would you change your style to a less-exciting style to win rounds and fights? Of course. And, it would be hard to deny a fighter from moving up the rankings that wins 4 or 5 fights in a row…even if they are all by decision.

  4. Pink Pig on December 2nd, 2014 6:30 PM

    Bellator needs to up the shenanigans… while UFC tries to go corporate, Bellator can focus on pushing the envelope even further and actually focus on fan entertainment.

  5. saldathief on December 2nd, 2014 8:14 PM

    HA The UFC wasting time with this utter bullshit as their entire business gets worse and worse! Save us the lies and bullshit and save the fighters from more nonsense in their contracts and please give the people and the fighters a decent product!! How many lawyers and meetings and energy and money did the UFC piss away trying to make this deal happen?? why don’t they put their energy and money into something good for the fans and stop with this corporate crap that at the end of the day wouldn’t mean a dam thing when this entire UFC goes under! The UFC is a joke and cares nothing about its fans, the product, the fighters and obviously any kind of future for the sport while its losing money hand over foot. Reebok is garbage anyhow and any real athlete wouldn’t even use this crap!

  6. dumbass on December 2nd, 2014 9:18 PM

    bibbibib boo dipipdi doo i wish i was a super hater like sal

  7. tops E on December 3rd, 2014 1:13 AM

    Hahahaha….yawn

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