Fighter pay within the UFC, and MMA in general is not a new topic. It is a long, drawn out war between fighter and promotion. Each trying ensure they are getting what they determine to be their worth. In what is essentially a technical contest of bone throwing inside a locked octagonal area.
Pay became a hot topic again when the UFC signed a deal with giant brand Reebok in 2014. Handing over exclusive rights to design fighter apparel and merchandise. This drew valid criticism at the time as it took away one of the largest revenue streams the fighters could engage with; sponsorship’s. However, if you go back to any fight card prior to 2014, you will see fighters with banners draped over the cage as Bruce called their names. With variety in their fight kits, only adding to their personality. However, this was done away with when Reebok and the UFC entered into their contract.
The UFC also introduced a new policy alongside the agreement to determine how the sponsorship money would reach fighters. It was named the Promotional Guidelines Compliance program. Essentially a fighter would be given a fixed fee dependant on how long you had been with the UFC, and how many fights that you had taken part in, for the promotion.
Rumblings of unrest have been prevalent lately as the deal draws to an end, and the UFC actively looking for new suitors. Today, an article revealed that Venum, the veteran combat sports brand would be the new partner for UFC Apparel. In an excerpt from the article President Dana White comments:
“We’re pumped that VENUM will be joining us as our new exclusive global outfitting and apparel partner,” said UFC President Dana White. “VENUM is an Iconic combat sports brand that understands the unique needs of MMA athletes. Franck Dupuis and his team at VENUM have the technical knowledge and experience that will produce world-class UFC Fight Kits and apparel. We’re looking forward to collaborating with them on this next evolution of UFC’s outfitting program.”
Whilst I am doubtful there will be any changes to the revenue percentage given to the fighters from the sponsorship deal, we can all have hope that Venum’s entrance to the UFC world will bring back a portion of the originality, and personality that we all knew and loved.
The article was posted first on the UFC website, and the UFC social media pages. You can read the full release here