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3/16/13 1:03 PM
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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? 

Wrong. 

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, ToolKing.com, 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

Read entire blog...
JOIN the Chris Camozzi fan community...

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

Follow Chris Camozzi Twitter...
Follow HateBreed on Twitter...

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.


3/16/13 1:16 PM
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AceAtGSU
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He is actually making some good points here. I think it is also possible that the market being flooded with these opportunities could be part of this as well. Years ago when guys were getting 10k for a walkout shirt there were likely far less high level mma events than there are now. Now there is one almost every few weeks if not every week with such organizations as bellator. For people interested in the market it gives them more opportunities to get a better deal.
3/16/13 1:21 PM
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WelshWarrior
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Interesting points Phone Post
3/16/13 1:27 PM
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eiuwrestler174
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Good call, Mr. Camozzi.
3/16/13 1:32 PM
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lifeaftrprison
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One glaring thing he is forgetting or overlooking. The sponsorship value has declined as the UFC has implemented a fee to sponsor. Those companies only have so much to spend and once they put that into a permission fee , the average dollar available to spend on the athlete will be less. So instead of blaming his peers maybe he should blame the promotion ? Great for him to take a stand on the value of his sponsorship, but It won't be effective as long as the fighters can't make a living off of a purse only. They will continue to take what they can get. Phone Post
3/16/13 1:40 PM
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Pure
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soremano - 

so back in the days you could get 10 grand from a sponsor in the ufc, now that ufc is charging sponsors 15 grand fee the fighters are getting less? how is that possible?


All business have advertising budgets. If a big slice of that budget is now going toward simply getting permission from the UFC, then it's not hard to see why fighters would be getting less.

3/16/13 1:43 PM
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Dougie
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soremano - 

so back in the days you could get 10 grand from a sponsor in the ufc, now that ufc is charging sponsors 15 grand fee the fighters are getting less? how is that possible?


All business have advertising budgets. If a big slice of that budget is now going toward simply getting permission from the UFC, then it's not hard to see why fighters would be getting less.


The UFC pays for the event to go off so I can see why they would charge sponsors the permission fee. I'd like to think that they then share a portion of this fee with the fighters.

3/16/13 1:43 PM
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JetSetter
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I've paid to have my brand on a fighters walkout shirt and shorts so I'm speaking from experience.

Back when the prices where higher a sponsor could never come close to recouping their investment. If you were on Chuck Liddell back in the day you would get a lot of action but it was 35k just for a patch on his shorts when I was sponsoring so that wasn't even worth it.

I'm all for fighters making all the money that they can but because of the small return on investment the market doesn't bare them making big money unless they are GSP or one of the top dogs. There just too many other ways to get a better bang for your buck elsewhere. Phone Post
3/16/13 1:44 PM
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JOESONDO
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When guys were getting 10k for a walk out tee did the sponsors also have to pay the UFC? There is a limited budget for this type of thing and the lion's share may have been taken up by the UFC itself.

Also the UFC has dropped viewership in recent years. Fewer eyeballs means the sponsors are willing to pay less. Many companies view it on a cost per impression basis and with fewer people watching the cost per impression goes up. The only thing they can do is try to reduce what you they pay or find another marketing avenue.

Lastly the economy is in a different place now. There isn't the financial windfall there once was for sponsors. They have to adjust their marketing/ sponsorship budget accordingly. Phone Post
3/16/13 1:44 PM
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Card
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Very interesting read... thanks Camozzi.

3/16/13 1:46 PM
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NomoRomophobia
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This was an amazing read.
War Camozzi! Phone Post
3/16/13 1:49 PM
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Dougie
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JetSetter -  I've paid to have my brand on a fighters walkout shirt and shorts so I'm speaking from experience.

Back when the prices where higher a sponsor could never come close to recouping their investment. If you were on Chuck Liddell back in the day you would get a lot of action but it was 35k just for a patch on his shorts when I was sponsoring so that wasn't even worth it.

I'm all for fighters making all the money that they can but because of the small return on investment the market doesn't bare them making big money unless they are GSP or one of the top dogs. There just too many other ways to get a better bang for your buck elsewhere. Phone Post

Thanx for sharing the experience.

3/16/13 1:49 PM
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Zomby
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soremano - 

so back in the days you could get 10 grand from a sponsor in the ufc, now that ufc is charging sponsors 15 grand fee the fighters are getting less? how is that possible?


All business have advertising budgets. If a big slice of that budget is now going toward simply getting permission from the UFC, then it's not hard to see why fighters would be getting less.


I think he was being facetious...


In a simple cause and effect relation and with a budget of $10k to $18k for each event, and it goes as follows:

Scenario 1:
Sponsor pays UFC FIGHTER $10k, and the UFC gets $0.

Scenario 2:
Sponsor pay the UFC FIGHTER $3k, and the UFC gets $15k.


Result : As always the UFC is screwing the fighters so Dana can million dollar bets at casinos.
3/16/13 1:54 PM
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NorthernIrishZombie
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The walkout music thing is total bullshit. Same with guys who might want to wear a mask or do something interesting on their way to the cage. As long as it doesn't take away from their in-cage performance, who cares?

3/16/13 2:17 PM
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Kevin bacon
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sounds like a true leader
3/16/13 3:37 PM
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Jayjayememay
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ttt

3/16/13 3:57 PM
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Phil Cornelius
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People would be so much better at what they do if money wasn't always the focus.
3/16/13 4:00 PM
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Claude Patrick
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TRUE STORY WITH NAMES LEFT OUT TO SAVE SOME PEOPLES FACE :)

aight so ive made it to the promised land UFC.. SHIT im in the UFC.. THE LAND OF MILK AND HONEY...

coming up you hear these stories 30k sponsorships per fight 10 k per logo for shorts!!! Damn i was pumped right up bout to get finally start getting paid :)

flash forward to the event and i dunno i came in withno where near that and heard the stories of "oh you just missed those days now nobody paying " im like ok whatever im here to fight and i do have this "big name sponsor" so ill be staight either way.

im getting all my stuff presented to me and these the nerve to come to me with 500 dollars!!!!! 500 dollars for a UFC fight??? I said NO HELL NO.. take that back right now..

my manager at the time was like "oh claude its already printed the shorts are done we cant change it..."

I was so shocked these guys had the nerve to come at any competitor with that type of number i do what to them was unthinkable and said you know what im Wearing a blank tshirt in the walkout and wear the short since its done BUT YOU KEEP THE MONEY..

id rather do it for free than disrespect my craft taking 500 dollars in "sponsorship" at this level

long story short i won the fight and they magically came up with a decent number to pay me post fight

when guys lower the bar it hurts everyone

man up fellas tell em to go home with those bogus offers

claude patrick
p.s
tongight
gsp wins via kicks and cuts
hendricks via dominant clinch work an ground control
marquart vs size and possible submission
3/16/13 4:03 PM
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Don_Dada
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NorthernIrishZombie - 

The walkout music thing is total bullshit. Same with guys who might want to wear a mask or do something interesting on their way to the cage. As long as it doesn't take away from their in-cage performance, who cares?


Zuffa care, they like control. They force Urijah to come out to California Love, don't let him change his music. Same with Bones, wanted to change his song and they made him use Empire State of Mind. There's other examples but those two come to mind first.
3/16/13 4:42 PM
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Culinary Union Delegate
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Don_Dada - 
NorthernIrishZombie - 

The walkout music thing is total bullshit. Same with guys who might want to wear a mask or do something interesting on their way to the cage. As long as it doesn't take away from their in-cage performance, who cares?


Zuffa care, they like control. They force Urijah to come out to California Love, don't let him change his music. Same with Bones, wanted to change his song and they made him use Empire State of Mind. There's other examples but those two come to mind first.

Forrest with dropkick Murphys

Dana said no to Dethklok

Chuck got stuck with DMX when he wanted Pantera

3/16/13 5:52 PM
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PrettyBoy
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This reads very much like Jason Genet's blogs. Phone Post
3/16/13 6:31 PM
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fightharder
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JOESONDO -  When guys were getting 10k for a walk out tee did the sponsors also have to pay the UFC? There is a limited budget for this type of thing and the lion's share may have been taken up by the UFC itself.

Also the UFC has dropped viewership in recent years. Fewer eyeballs means the sponsors are willing to pay less. Many companies view it on a cost per impression basis and with fewer people watching the cost per impression goes up. The only thing they can do is try to reduce what you they pay or find another marketing avenue.

Lastly the economy is in a different place now. There isn't the financial windfall there once was for sponsors. They have to adjust their marketing/ sponsorship budget accordingly. Phone Post

Are there really less people watching though?

 

GSP does sort of the same numbers on PPV constantly. But you also get much more mainstream media coverage in MMA programs,shows that show clips of the fight and there is more internet exposure as well. And doesn't being shown on Fox count for something?

 

Sorry but it absolutely amazes me that the UFC seems to attract almost no decent sponsors yet and fighters having an extremely hard time getting decent sponsorship deals. The UFC is a product that scores amazingly with a certain demo. Yet companies that make products for these demo do not really sponsor  individual fighters that much at all.

 

And the lack of blue chip firms getting involved is a little startling as well. It might be a different economy but profits with US companies are still very high. Plus economically thinks are getting a bit more rosy.

 

You would have thought that with a move to Fox they would attract more mature sponsor deals. You would also imagine that we the part owners being from the United Arab Emirates you would get some more structural sponsorships from that region.

I am personally rather amazed by how little progress is being made on this front.

3/16/13 6:35 PM
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fightharder
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Culinary Union Delegate - 
Don_Dada - 
NorthernIrishZombie - 

The walkout music thing is total bullshit. Same with guys who might want to wear a mask or do something interesting on their way to the cage. As long as it doesn't take away from their in-cage performance, who cares?


Zuffa care, they like control. They force Urijah to come out to California Love, don't let him change his music. Same with Bones, wanted to change his song and they made him use Empire State of Mind. There's other examples but those two come to mind first.

Forrest with dropkick Murphys

Dana said no to Dethklok

Chuck got stuck with DMX when he wanted Pantera


That such bullshit. Back in the day,when the Zuffa tried to launch there own metal record label,we had to listen to all the aweful crappy metal bands.

 

And now when fighters want to use some decent metal songs there getting fucking denied. Why the fuck didn't they approve Pantera? And why did Dana say no to Dethklok?I really do not see how Dethklok should be worse than Rage against the Machine. They send out a much less appealing message to corporate sponsors then anything by Dethklok or Pantera.

 

The UFC should really stop with restricting people in there music choices. I understand that the  want to ban songs that are discriminatory. But apart from that its really just silly to ban any music.

3/16/13 6:39 PM
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Uncle Creepy's Creepy Nephew
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Thanks very much for the input Mr Patrick and that is some shady shit by the sponsor.
3/18/13 5:08 PM
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camozzi
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PrettyBoy -  This reads very much like Jason Genet's blogs. Phone Post

Well Jason is my manager and we have had many conversations on the matter. LOL maybe his blogs actually sound like mine! JK we share the same views on stuff and though I feel like i write decent my grammar sucks and we both share the same editor. Tell Jason not to copy me haha


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