Chris Camozzi: Hold the line – DON’T take cheap sponsorships

Saturday, March 16, 2013

UFC middleweight Chris Camozzi, who fights Nick Ring on the main card at UFC 158, has some vital things to say about sponsorship. In the past, sponsorship done correctly could roughly equal the purse. However, the economic landscape in the sport has changed dramatically.

So what is a fighter to do?

Camozzi has a plan – DON’T lower the bar. He won’t.

Never Selling Out But Always For Sale

I do not know about the rest of the guys in the sport but my road to the UFC is full of broken bones and a lot of blood sweat and tears.  As UFC 158 is upon us I am on the cusp of achieving my dream of fighting on one of the biggest cards of the year.

So that must mean a huge financial windfall right?  I mean it is UFC 158, a GSP card, no one is a bigger draw than GSP.  The sponsors must have lined up to be a part of this golden opportunity, right? 


Not when so many other fighters and managers in the sport are selling the same opportunity for a fraction of what it is worth. 

Don’t worry I am not going to call out anyone in particular for lowering the bar; it was lowered long before UFC 158. PPV walkout tees have gone from a big payday for fighters to essentially non-existent. The fighters do not seem to care about how little they make and it seems like managers don’t either when it comes to sponsorship. This used to be such a big part of the sport. Maybe it is because they did not work as hard as me to get here, or maybe it is because they do not work as hard as me for the sponsors outside of the Octagon. Whatever the reason, things have gone from bad to worse and I won’t contribute.

I won’t lower the bar.

Fighters and Managers want to talk about how unionizing the sport is what’s needed. Truth is they are just being lazy and want rules and third parties to set a baseline that they should be working to increase at every opportunity. What product has been commoditized faster than the UFC athlete sponsorship? Even just a couple years ago it was very possible to earn $10K for your walkout shirt alone being featured on the UFC main card. Yet in 2013 I turned down offers that were in the $3K range for my walkout shirt.  You can’t lower the bar and expect better, you can’t be willing to accept less while demanding more.

How is a guy that is complaining about sponsors going to say he turned down money?

I am not complaining about sponsors, I have some great sponsors. I am saying that the fighters that are allowing the bar to be lowered are doing the sport a great disservice.  The UFC is one of the biggest names in the sports world, and you could not buy 30 seconds on your LOCAL cable network for the same price some of my peers are selling sponsorships for. You couldn’t afford to take any executive out to lunch in LA for what some of my peers are selling sponsorships for.

Everyone bitches about fighter pay, yet if it wasn’t for the pay from the promotion fighters would be broke. Yet the sponsors depend on us fans. The UFC built the popularity, built the platform and allows us to sell ourselves from the platform. 

So for the rest of you guys and all of you who are on your way up, stop diminishing the value of reaching the top.  We have a lot to be proud of, the UFC is a HUGE platform that exudes value. Just say no and watch the sponsors pay more. I did. 

I will take the first stand. 

I left money on the table, money I need. I did it for you, will you do it for me? Stop lowering the bar, these brands need to be in these events. They paid five to seven figures for PERMISSION to advertise on us, shouldn’t the ads be worth more? If permission is worth $15,000 per fighter, then the actual ad is worth what?

Thank you to my sponsors Revgear, Triumph United, Muscle Pharm, Hatebreed,, InstaLoans, MGR Construction, Alienware and Fulmer Helmets.

Thank you to my gym Factory X Muay Thai and my management team at Ingrained Media.

Also a big shout out to Frank Edge and Frank’s Fight!

– Chris

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Camozzi also ran into problems with his choice of walkout song by sponsor Hatebreed.

Chris Camozzi @ChrisCamozzi
Unfortunately I had to cover the @hatebreed logos on my shirt and banner. Not my choice. Sorry guys. Waiting to see if music is approved

Reidy Reidy ‏@ReidyMMA
What song? Destroy Everything? 🙂

Chris Camozzi @ChrisCamozzi
they aren’t letting me use Hatebreed from what I understand

Reidy Reidy ‏@ReidyMMA
That’s lame. Is that Hatebreed’s decision or @ufc’s?

Chris Lewis Chris Lewis ‏@714southcharles
That’s wrong I’ve only heard of them saying no to a song once. They allow “High Hopes” for goodness sake!

Ingrained Media ‏@IngrainedMedia
@ChrisCamozzi may not be able to walkout to the music or support the band he wants at #UFC 158, there is no denying support from @hatebreed

Chris Camozzi ‏@ChrisCamozzi
It’s always a funny feeling on fight day, no matter what I do today, I’m getting punched in the face tonight lol

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Last Summer a CNN article mistakenly accused Hatebreed of being a white power band. Hatebreed is not a white power band, and has disavowed any racist sentiments. The band took pointed issue with CNN’s inclusion of their name on a list of white power bands. CNN became aware of the false nature of the charge, removed Hatebreed’s name from the piece, and expressed public regret for the error.

However, damage was apparently done.