MPO Year in Review – The UFC Athlete Retreat

December 21, 2017

MMA Payout begins its annual year in review with the UFC Retreat held in Las Vegas in May.  Over 300 fighters descended on Vegas to attend.  What seemed like a good way to introduce the new ownership to its fighters, the Performance Institute and new sponsors turned into a little more than expected with several story lines coming out of the weekend.

There was the confrontation involving UFC lightweight Kajan Johnson with Reebok representatives about the fighter pay related to the clothing deal.  Johnson indicated he lost about 80% of his fighter pay due to the loss of sponsors. The discussion lasted 90 minutes and according to a report from MMA Junkie, the following proposals were discussed by fighters included bringing back sponsor banners, more transparency about the financials surrounding the UFC’s sponsorship deal with Reebok and hire a UFC rep to leverage local sponsors.

Reebok indicated that it would look for more collaborative solutions with the deal although the payouts have not changed since the discussion.  Reebok did involve athletes more into the design of cloths and introduced a new line at UFC 217.

Kobe Bryant spoke at the Fighter Retreat and Leslie Smith asked about the importance of the player’s association in the NBA:

It was an obvious poke at the bear with MMA fighter’s fledgling attempts to unionize or create an association.

There was also the confrontation between Angela Magana and Cristiane “Cyborg” Justino.  The Las Vegas Police was summoned but no charges came out of the incident.

As a result of the incident, Justino lost a sponsorship.

Finally, there was the claim that a Budweiser representative was intoxicated when he spoke to the fighters.

The UFC retreat seemed like a good idea in theory and perhaps we only received the outrageous news from the weekend. Will we see another one next year? Possibly, but getting fighters together is risky considering the hatred between some fighters.  Maybe everyone could just Skype into these meetings.

Got something to say?

You must be logged in to post a comment.