As its title suggests, in this article I will be looking into the deal between the Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC), currently the largest MMA organization in the world, and sportswear giant Reebok.
I will try to highlight the reasons why many MMA fighters are inclined to think that it actually exploits and even enslaves them.
What’s The Deal About?
This is a six-year agreement between UFC and Reebok, stipulating that all UFC fighters who step in the ring should wear Reebok’s MMA gear in exchange for guaranteed sponsorship.
UFC CEO Lorenzo Fertitta defined the agreement as the most significant non-broadcast deal that the MMA organization has ever signed.
Why Is It Unfair to The Fighters?
Brazilian fighter Vitor Belfort appears to be one of the fiercest critics of the UFC-Reebok deal. He’s gone as far as likening it to “slavery”, adding that he’s suffered significant financial losses from not being able to use his own sponsors’ outfit.
Belfort also complains of the lack of retirement plan for the UFC fighters, which to guarantee their post-MMA future.
However, the sportswear giant has been quick to counter that it is UFC’s responsibility to distribute and manage the sponsorship money between its fighters.
An Authoritarian Agreement
To put it simply, the Reebok-UFC agreement stipulates that the more you fight, the more you earn. the Fighters with twenty-one or more bouts a year get $ 21,000 worth of sponsorship money, while those with one to five fights a year get just $2,500.
Is the Deal Threatening UFC ‘s Future?
As I see it, the way this sponsorship agreement currently works is deterring many young talents from joining the organization.
And why should they, really? You get three to four fights a year and you are practically get very little from Reebok’s sponsorship money.