New UFC Promotional Guidelines grants incoming fighters more Reebok pay

December 22, 2017

ESPN reports that the UFC’s clothing sponsor, Reebok, has provided a modest increase in its payment tiers for incoming fighters.  Fighters with 1-3 fights with the company will now receive $3,500.

The bump in sponsor pay is $1,000 more than the previous $2,500 for those with 1-5 fights in the organization.  In a new 17-page document entitled “UFC Promotional Guidelines,” the sponsor pay indicated the raise.  For those with 4-5 fights, they will receive $5,000.  According to the ESPN report, UFC Chief Operating Officer Lawrence Epstein indicated that more than half of the UFC’s roster falls into those first two tiers.

The rest of the tiers which now range from $3,500 to $40,000 remain the same.  Fighters with 6-10 fights will receive $5,000.  Those with 11-15 fights will earn $10,000.  16 to 20 fights garner $15,000 and athletes with more than 21 fights will earn $20,000 per fight.  Title challenger will earn $30,000 while all champions will receive $40,000 per defense.

The guidelines issued to all fighters today notified them of additional media obligations during fight week.

The Reebok deal had been a source of controversy among fighters and was brought up at the UFC Fighter Retreat in May.  Notably, Kajan Johnson was one of the fighters outspoken about how the deal had impacted his earnings.  This is the first monetary amendment to the deal which began in 2015.

Payout Perspective:

The changes were unilateral made and although the UFC might have sought out fighter input, in the end, it was the UFC’s decision to grant more sponsor pay for newcomers while the UFC “middle class” of career fighters remain unchanged.  The news also came with additional time and access sought by the UFC from fighters.  So, in exchange for more money for intro fighters, featured fighters must now give more of their time to promote the event.

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