UFC Champs and WSOF prospects talk about the truth of Sponsorship (Very Long Read) - MMA Forum - UFC Forums - UFC Results - MMA Videos
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Old 02-21-2014, 05:09 AM   #1 (permalink)
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UFC Champs and WSOF prospects talk about the truth of Sponsorship (Very Long Read)

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You’re fighting for an MMA organization that is nationally televised. You’re on the televised portion and you’ve managed to get 3 or 4 sponsors together. How much do you think you’ll be making, total, from those sponsors? $5,000? $3,000? For many fighters, the real number is below $1,000.


The truth of MMA sponsorship is that the majority of guys aren’t making anywhere near what you expect them to be. Since the economic downturn and UFC Sponsor Tax implementation, the amount fighters receive from sponsors has taken a dramatic hit.

This piece is the culmination of several month’s work interviewing many fighters to get the most accurate view possible of the sponsor market now and in the past. The topics covered include how much sponsors are really paying, why they are paying less now than in the past, how difficult it is to get cash from sponsors, what factors affect how much sponsors will pay you, and more.

Participants

Along with my MMA Sentinel Radio co-host, Steph Daniels, I interviewed over a dozen fighters to get details on the state of sponsorship in MMA. Those fighters include: A UFC Champion, UFC title contenders, plus top contenders and prospects in the UFC, Bellator and WSOF.

We feel it’s important to give an indicator as to the type of fighter we received comments from, and their relevant places in the MMA world. We also wanted to know how much guys are really making, what effect the sponsor tax had, and how common it is for sponsors to fail to pay a fighter. Some fighters agreed to go on the record, others wished to remain anonymous. Some made some comments on the record, and some off.

I made the decision to have every response be anonymous, for the sake of consistency and ensuring I didn’t give any clues to you intrepid investigators out there who might try to match anonymous comments up with named fighters.

Every factual statement in this piece is 100% true. The wording of the statements may have been edited to remove references to times, places or other things which may give clues to the identity of the fighter. Other than these measures, nothing you read here has been altered in any way.

How Much Are Sponsors Really Paying?

How much fighters really make from sponsors is an interesting and contentious field. The gap between the top and bottom is significant, and having a special relationship with a single sponsor is often the best choice for fighters in the top 5 or 10 of their division.

Here’s a rough breakdown:

Between $150,000 and $75,000 per year: A top contender in the UFC, top 10 in his/her division and reasonably marketable.

Up to $100,000 per year: The very top fighters in organizations outside of the UFC, if they have good yearly sponsors.

$15,000-$10,000 per fight: Former UFC fighters with big names fighting outside of the UFC.

$15,000-$10,000 per fight: Mid-level UFC fighters.

Up to $5,000 per fight: UFC fighters on Facebook.

Less than $1,000 per fight: Up-and-coming prospects fighting outside of the UFC in Bellator/WSOF or equivalent organizations.

All figures quoted are totals from every sponsor that fighter has combined. Every fighter I spoke to said sponsors are paying less now than they did a few years ago. Different fighters had different opinions on why this was the case.

Why Sponsors Are Paying Less

Fighters had a few theories about why this was the case, many of them laid the blame at the door of the UFC’s sponsor tax.

A top UFC contender had this to say:

I just completely randomly came up on this. I have never read this before so i figured id share it. Its a good time to read this with all the talk about sponsors.

I have not finished the whole thing yet because i wanted to post it and give people a chance to start reading so i will continue this post at a later time.
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Old 02-21-2014, 07:32 AM   #2 (permalink)
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Geezus that was long. Pretty good though. Too bad he didn't name his sources. I'd say Randy Couture, Dennis Hallman, Fitch, Torres, Alvarez made some of those statements.

My question is what are these fighters' going to do when they retire. Most can not retire with the income they've made. I mean you have Cain selling his damn car.
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Old 02-21-2014, 12:44 PM   #3 (permalink)
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Long read but worth it.

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Finally, I hope more fighters become more media savvy and realize they have an audience who will watch them spar in their sponsor’s gear; that will check out their YouTube videos and their appearances on TV and radio, and fans who will listen if they give genuine reviews of the products they receive and use from sponsors.
For me this is the part that fighters are not maximizing on. The walk to the ring last a couple of minutes and the weigh in's your stripped down. The actual fight can give good air time but max out at 15 min. It's the other time when a fighter can be representing a sponsor that really matter, but I think it takes a good manager to set this up.
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Old 02-21-2014, 12:52 PM   #4 (permalink)
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Geezus that was long. Pretty good though. Too bad he didn't name his sources. I'd say Randy Couture, Dennis Hallman, Fitch, Torres, Alvarez made some of those statements.

My question is what are these fighters' going to do when they retire. Most can not retire with the income they've made. I mean you have Cain selling his damn car.
How about getting a job like everyone else on the planet?
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Old 02-21-2014, 12:58 PM   #5 (permalink)
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How about getting a job like everyone else on the planet?
Doesn't exactly sound like the most enticing proposition does it, getting you head knocked about for years and not even having enough to retire on it at the end.
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Old 02-21-2014, 01:01 PM   #6 (permalink)
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Doesn't exactly sound like the most enticing proposition does it, getting you head knocked about for years and not even having enough to retire on it at the end.
well, their choice.
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Old 02-21-2014, 01:09 PM   #7 (permalink)
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well, their choice.
Yep... you have top athletes with the choice of making big money elsewhere, or having to "get a job like everyone else on the planet?" after a 15 yr career in MMA

Its going to be hard to attract the best and grow the sport when an MMA career is only a good option to the desperate...
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Old 02-21-2014, 01:31 PM   #8 (permalink)
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Yep... you have top athletes with the choice of making big money elsewhere, or having to "get a job like everyone else on the planet?" after a 15 yr career in MMA

Its going to be hard to attract the best and grow the sport when an MMA career is only a good option to the desperate...
I love that MMA gets coupled with Floyd Mayweather and NFL/NBA players, instead of being coupled with boxing up and comers, amateur boxing world champions, amateur wrestling, 90% of olympic sports etc.

I give the example all the time, no one cares to reply. Katie Taylor, the most decorated woman's amateur boxer of all time, recently had to stay in a tent with like 30 other fighters before a major tournament. When Ronda Rousey is living in a town like Bray, sleeping in tents before fights, then maybe we can talk.

You guys just pick which sport to use to benefit your point. You think world champion Curlers competing in the Olympics (bigger than MMA by a mile) are living it up in mansions?

Another comparison I've seen made is WWE salaries. If MMA fighters made the amount that freelance pro wrestlers made, MMA wouldn't exist.

If UFC can compete with NFL, NBA Final, WrestleMania, Mayweather PPVs and whatever else, then sure, go ahead, make the comparisons. But for now, the UFC isn't even in the same league as those.
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Old 02-21-2014, 05:09 PM   #9 (permalink)
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Originally Posted by ClydebankBlitz View Post
I love that MMA gets coupled with Floyd Mayweather and NFL/NBA players, instead of being coupled with boxing up and comers, amateur boxing world champions, amateur wrestling, 90% of olympic sports etc.

I give the example all the time, no one cares to reply. Katie Taylor, the most decorated woman's amateur boxer of all time, recently had to stay in a tent with like 30 other fighters before a major tournament. When Ronda Rousey is living in a town like Bray, sleeping in tents before fights, then maybe we can talk.

You guys just pick which sport to use to benefit your point. You think world champion Curlers competing in the Olympics (bigger than MMA by a mile) are living it up in mansions?

Another comparison I've seen made is WWE salaries. If MMA fighters made the amount that freelance pro wrestlers made, MMA wouldn't exist.

If UFC can compete with NFL, NBA Final, WrestleMania, Mayweather PPVs and whatever else, then sure, go ahead, make the comparisons. But for now, the UFC isn't even in the same league as those.
Another thing people dont seem to reply to is the fact that no one has ever said that MMA fighters deserve the same pay as mayweather/nba/nfl athletes.
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Old 02-21-2014, 06:45 PM   #10 (permalink)
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Ya I think like some have stated in this article you need not a good manager but a great manager. I think a great manager will get you better contracts with both the UFC and Sponsors. This is very important.
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