Cole Miller on new sponsorship landscape

Sunday, October 06, 2013

Cole Miller @colemillerATT
The MMA industry must be hurting. Past few fights I’ve been getting ‘offers’ to rep companies for free. Tell me others aren’t agreeing to this.

Beloved UGer Cole Miller, 29, is 8-6 in the UFC, and after winning just one fight of the last four, finds himself on the Facebook prelims vs. Andy Ogle at UFN 30 on Oct 26 in Manchester, England. In an important story, MMAJunkie co-founder Steven Marrocco profiles the radically changed nature of sponsorships in MMA.

In the earliest days of the sport, you could sponsor the biggest names for astonishingly low numbers. After Tito Ortiz wore an unprintable shirt that earned everyone’s attention, the UG paid $1,500 for this walkout shirt the next time.

The the sport blew up, and for a while, sponsorships could be equivalent to the purse. Now they are way, way, way down.

Miller likely will receive around the same base pay to fight Ogle as he did for his recent loss –  $26,000.

He said he probably will make less in sponsor money than he did when he fought on un-televised preliminary cards early in his UFC career. In those days, he said he could count on banking between $4,000 and $5,000 in sponsor money for a “dark” fight. In 2010, he peaked at $23,500.

Against Ogle, he said he’ll be lucky to make $3,500.

“It seems like everything has dried up, and the companies only want to commit to a smaller roster for their company,” Miller told

“There are these companies that just straight up won’t call back right after they hear that I’m on Facebook.”

There also are companies that offer him $100 worth of free gear in exchange for a patch on his shorts, or a logo on the sponsor banner.

Miller won’t say what these businesses are – only that they are the same ones you see plastered on headliners or co-main event fighters, who presumably receive cash, and a lot more than $100.

“I enjoy the fighting. I enjoy the training. But all the stuff that goes along with it is getting annoying, and I can honestly say that I’m looking forward to a normal kind of lifestyle.”

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