Are fighter sponsorships the UFC's problem?


Yesterday UFC President Dana White made some harsh statements to the media in regarding to sponsorships fighters get themselves, going so far as to say 'It's not my f---in problem'. The UFC allows athletes to sign in the cage sponsorships, however under some restrictions set by the promotion.'s Luke Thomas argues that White is actually completely wrong and sponsorship exactly are the UFC's problem:

Aside from White's response being a rather cruel dismissal, he's also wrong. Fighter sponsorships actually are the UFC's problem precisely because their direct, conscious decisions about the role sponsors play dramatically influences the market. In addition, the UFC also situates themselves to profit from it, in some cases arguably at the expense of fighters.

White suggests the issue of sponsorships is what happens 'outside of the UFC', as if this is a secondary market the UFC has neither the time nor the inclination to monitor or involve themselves. He positions it as a distant place where fighters and sponsors team up for mutual benefit and he's being asked to solve their problems, problems unrelated to the core of UFC operations.

Yet, those relationships are defined by policies set in place by UFC. Whether it be the invocation of a morality clause or financial hurdle, e.g. the $100,000 sponsor tax, the UFC defines the terms by which sponsors may even approach their athletes (technically independent contractors). The sponsorship of UFC fighters is not an activity that takes place outside of the UFC; it happens through them and under the terms they created. The UFC retains the final word on which sponsors will be allowed to participate and what the complexion of that sponsorship will look like.

read entire article...

So two sides of the story. Who is right? The UFC pays athletes to compete inside the cage and they are allowed the right to get their own sponsors, with stipulations. So whether or not the athletes can make as much as they would like to, is that their own problem or the UFCs?

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Recent Comments »

john joe site profile image  

2/22/14 8:13 AM by john joe

exactly; events in the UK and elsewhere never previously aired free in the states, only now thanks to FightPass are these things happening

john joe site profile image  

2/22/14 8:12 AM by john joe

this is the spin now, is it?What disingenuous nonsense. 'Fight Pass events' are nothing of the sort. They are Facebook prelims, now airing via FightPass instead, and/or Fight Nights which used to air on whatever networkand yes i understand the whole thing about these six EMEA events being some separate entity in a broadcasting, contractual sense (ie an extra package to sell to networks or whatever) but to pretend they are somehow magically different from standard ufc operations is cheap sophistry

Macedawgg site profile image  

2/22/14 5:38 AM by Macedawgg

Yikes. . . Utter insanity.

time traveling 12er site profile image  

2/22/14 5:32 AM by time traveling 12er

He means those entire fight cards didn't exist.  They created new jobs for those guys.  Extra fights they pay for that didn't exist before.  But still bad on them right?

Josheo site profile image  

2/22/14 1:47 AM by Josheo

Do the sponsorship/advertising rules apply to UFC talent like Joe Rogan? At the weigh-ins for UFC 168 he was allowed to wear the "iron chimp" T-shirt from his Higher Primate apparel brand. Whoever saw that weigh-in I'm sure saw Rogan's shirt, which basically means free advertising to promote a non-UFC-related brand. Or does Dana only care about cage-side sponsorships? Do the advertising rules only apply to fighters?

Yussarian site profile image  

2/21/14 11:23 PM by Yussarian

Facebook prelims didn't exist?

time traveling 12er site profile image  

2/21/14 8:20 PM by time traveling 12er

Someone in another thread say dynamic fastner pays zero sponsor tax.  Probably because there aren't a whole bunch of fastner companies trying to get sponsorship deals.  The 1k number I heard was from a mma website guy on here.  He said he heard of guys only paying 1k because there were not many people in his industry trying to sponsor.

MMALOGIC site profile image  

2/21/14 8:19 PM by MMALOGIC

He wouldve but then someone else wouldnt have...   This fightpass event is airing live in the UK on primetime as well as sweden (amongst other territories)... what you lose in exposure in the USA you can make some of it up from more local exposure... and local sponsors. Im assuming the problem being discussed are the fightpass prelims that do not have that type of exposure... But again at the end of the day these are slots that didnt even exist.  so there were zero sponsorship opportunities for these slots last year because they didnt exist. Now I agree guys like Gustaffson could have fought on a card that existed in the schedule last year but then someone else wouldnt get that slot.... so someboday else would be "screwed". We can also say get rid of the fightpass prelims... but then those guys would be making 1500 to show on the regional circuit (if they can even get a fight) instead of 8k to show and 8k to win on a fightpass prelim.  I mean what is the argument here? arent we arguing for what's beneficial for the fighters?

time traveling 12er site profile image  

2/21/14 8:18 PM by time traveling 12er

Could you imagine how much people on this board would complain if that happened?  "OMG the UFC is forcing fighters to hold their hard earned sponsorships to only the UFC!!"  The UFC already apparently has a guy that handles the sponsorship and will make sure you get paid.  They also spend time trying to market fighters too, contrary to popular beleif.  Fighters are forgetting that a part of why sponsors are even willing to pay them money is because the exposure they're getting by being on a UFC show.  The other problem is that for the most part fighters aren't hurting.  They're only relatively underpaid vs how much people think the UFC makes or what these fighters values are.