While there are still many unanswered questions regarding the UFC’s new uniform deal with Reebok, and to what extent it will benefit fighters, Ronda Rousey clearly is pretty happy about the agreement.
“I’m excited to see what they come up with. Women’s clothing for MMA has never existed before, so I’m excited to see what they come up with…. I haven’t had a sports apparel sponsor even up until now. I was holding out for a really big, respectable brand name like Reebok to come along so this is exactly what I have been waiting for. I like to keep my fighting clothes extremely barren — as plain and black as possible. I don’t have any other sponsors that would complain or be upset about not being on my shorts or something like that. It works out perfectly for me, actually. I think this will definitely help the younger fighters coming up right out of the gate. They have a secure sponsor and, I don’t know how everybody’s management deals happen, but this is something UFC did and UFC got. I think every single Reebok penny deserves to go right to the fighters and the fighters only. The only people that have a right to take a cut are the people who hustled for it, the UFC. And because they want the fighters to do well they are giving up that cut and giving all the money to the fighters. I think a lot of fighters will be making more money with Reebok because it’s all for them.”
The deal will provide fighters some sort of sponsorship income, as well as a percentage of clothing sales, but as of right now, no one’s really sure what that will amount to.
There are also valid questions in terms of whether sponsorship compensation should be based on rankings, like apparently it will be. One can be a well established and popular vet, without being ranked in the top 15.
So, do they deserve the same, sponsorship pay as a newcomer to the UFC? Perhaps, if merchandise sales are brisk, but will the be? It’s hard to say right now.
It’s important to remember, that with the new deal, fighters won’t be able to advertise other sponsorships during fight week.
Of course, there are other questions observers are asking (like whether independent contractors, which fighters are, can be mandated to wear a specific uniform), but we likely won’t see how this all plays out until mid-next year.
Hopefully, it will provide fighters an additional, steady stream of substantial income, as many fighters are still far from being wealthy, professional athletes.
If you missed it, Nate Diaz apparently isn’t a big fan of what he’s heard about the uniforms thus far…
Rousey is scheduled to fight Cat Zingano at UFC 184 on February 28th in Los Angeles, California.