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10/6/13 7:57 AM
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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 MMAjunkie.com.

"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."

Read entire article...

 


10/6/13 8:52 AM
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Steve4192
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Authentic Brands Group is to blame IMO.

The entrepreneurs behind Tapout, Silver Star, Hitman, Sinister, etc. loved the sport and were invested in the 'MMA lifestyle'. That included supporting fighters from the local grassroots level all the way to the top. Once ABG bought them all out, they cut their sponsorship budgets to the bone and decided to only sponsor guys at the pinnacle of the sport. Fighters at the local regional/level or on the UFC prelims were left out in the cold.
10/6/13 8:56 AM
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MentaL
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It's because the UFC charges 100k to sponsor atheles in the octogon! 

10/6/13 9:10 AM
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Steve4192
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MentaL - 

It's because the UFC charges 100k to sponsor atheles in the octogon! 


Every sports league charges sponsors for being on their broadcasts. Just look at the NFL. Peyton Manning has a shitload of sponsors, but he's not allowed to wear their logos on the field. Mastercard, Sony, Kraft, DirectTV, and a bunch of others sponsor him off the field, but aren't allowed on the
field unless they cut a deal with the NFL.

If you want to use the UFC's broadcast to advertise your brand, it is only fair that you pay them. Sponsors are free to sponsor UFC athletes outside the Octagon without paying the UFC, but if you want in the Octagon you've got to pay.
10/6/13 9:13 AM
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Steve4192
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It's because the UFC charges 100k to sponsor atheles in the octogon! 


The decline of sponsorships is endemic at every level of MMA, not just in the UFC. The UFC sponsorship policies have no impact on guys fighting in other promotions, but those guys are having the same problems. Sponsorship is down everywhere, not just in the UFC.
10/6/13 9:18 AM
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RockTheVote
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well now i feel not as bad about the offers for me and my guys i get. among other funny stories, we also had an apparell company ask us to apply for their sponsorship which included a warmup outfit to use in the lockerroom and then wear out for the fight. and thats it. like their outfit was the entire sponsorship package. tough to be polite all the time, but not trying to burn bridges by telling people how our world works.

10/6/13 9:23 AM
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RockTheVote
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Steve4192 - 
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It's because the UFC charges 100k to sponsor atheles in the octogon! 


The decline of sponsorships is endemic at every level of MMA, not just in the UFC. The UFC sponsorship policies have no impact on guys fighting in other promotions, but those guys are having the same problems. Sponsorship is down everywhere, not just in the UFC.

well then its got to be on the fighters to prove that theyre worth the $. a sponsorship is an investment and sponsors should be looking for a return on that investment. previous post about brands supporting the fight lifestyle - i mean thats great and it helped get the sport to where it is today, but there is no point in wishing for the good old days. reality check time. show your sponsor who your audience is. show them how that corresponds to their market. show them that investing in your brand will sell merchendise or drum up business in other ways. when i pitch a sponsor now, im always trying to say "if you sponsor me with $X, you can expect to see $X+Y in return, and this is how." 

10/6/13 9:26 AM
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RKing85
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I knew sponsorship money was down, but I had no idea it was that low these days.
10/6/13 9:26 AM
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CRE
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Sponsorship money declining is another reason why fighter pay is constantly being discussed.

Fighting is a part time job for much of the roster now I'd assume.
10/6/13 9:29 AM
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The Sauce
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$100 worth of gear and the offer of free sponsorship is a slap in the face to a guy like Cole IMO Phone Post 3.0
10/6/13 9:29 AM
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Steve4192
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Steve4192 - 
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It's because the UFC charges 100k to sponsor atheles in the octogon! 


The decline of sponsorships is endemic at every level of MMA, not just in the UFC. The UFC sponsorship policies have no impact on guys fighting in other promotions, but those guys are having the same problems. Sponsorship is down everywhere, not just in the UFC.

well then its got to be on the fighters to prove that theyre worth the $. a sponsorship is an investment and sponsors should be looking for a return on that investment. previous post about brands supporting the fight lifestyle - i mean thats great and it helped get the sport to where it is today, but there is no point in wishing for the good old days. reality check time. show your sponsor who your audience is. show them how that corresponds to their market. show them that investing in your brand will sell merchendise or drum up business in other ways. when i pitch a sponsor now, im always trying to say "if you sponsor me with $X, you can expect to see $X+Y in return, and this is how." 


I agree, but it is a major paradigm shift in the industry. In the old model the apparel brands subsidized the fighters because they loved the sport. That was great while it lasted, but as the sport becomes more professional, so do the sponsors. Unfortunately, that means they want to see a return on investment and don't give a shit about 'supporting the sport'.
10/6/13 9:35 AM
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RockTheVote
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Steve4192 - 
RockTheVote - 
Steve4192 - 
MentaL - 

It's because the UFC charges 100k to sponsor atheles in the octogon! 


The decline of sponsorships is endemic at every level of MMA, not just in the UFC. The UFC sponsorship policies have no impact on guys fighting in other promotions, but those guys are having the same problems. Sponsorship is down everywhere, not just in the UFC.

well then its got to be on the fighters to prove that theyre worth the $. a sponsorship is an investment and sponsors should be looking for a return on that investment. previous post about brands supporting the fight lifestyle - i mean thats great and it helped get the sport to where it is today, but there is no point in wishing for the good old days. reality check time. show your sponsor who your audience is. show them how that corresponds to their market. show them that investing in your brand will sell merchendise or drum up business in other ways. when i pitch a sponsor now, im always trying to say "if you sponsor me with $X, you can expect to see $X+Y in return, and this is how." 


I agree, but it is a major paradigm shift in the industry. In the old model the apparel brands subsidized the fighters because they loved the sport. That was great while it lasted, but as the sport becomes more professional, so do the sponsors. Unfortunately, that means they want to see a return on investment and don't give a shit about 'supporting the sport'.

true to a point. it may also force fighters to evolve. just like guys in the past used to be able to focus on one style of training and guys today have to have well rounded games, guys in the future will  need to be that, plus invest in themselves on the business side.

10/6/13 9:45 AM
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Steve4192
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KOdClowning - More events - more fighters - sponsorship tax - oversaturation - UFC sponsorship is dilluted as it is worth less

There's a million reasons.

WHAT IS THE UFC doing to fix this?

It's not a UFC problem. It's an MMA industry problem. Guys fighting in WSOF, Bellator, and every small show below them are having the same problems.

Nothing the UFC does will change that. If the UFC waives the sponsor tax, it might put more money in Jon Jones pocket, but it won't do shit for the Cole Millers of the world. Sponsors don't see guys at his level as a 'good investment'. They only want to sponsor the top dogs like Jones because those guys have a demonstrable impact on their bottom line.
10/6/13 9:54 AM
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Stephen Eakin
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I just don't see offering a guy like Cole such a small amount. Seems very disrespectful. Phone Post 3.0
10/6/13 9:56 AM
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RockTheVote
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Steve4192 - 
KOdClowning - More events - more fighters - sponsorship tax - oversaturation - UFC sponsorship is dilluted as it is worth less

There's a million reasons.

WHAT IS THE UFC doing to fix this?

It's not a UFC problem. It's an MMA industry problem. Guys fighting in WSOF, Bellator, and every small show below them are having the same problems.

Nothing the UFC does will change that. If the UFC waives the sponsor tax, it might put more money in Jon Jones pocket, but it won't do shit for the Cole Millers of the world. Sponsors don't see guys at his level as a 'good investment'. They only want to sponsor the top dogs like Jones because those guys have a demonstrable impact on their bottom line.

maybe a tiered sponsorship license? if you want to sponsor jon jones $100k, gsp $150k, etc you must pay the ufc $50k. if you want to sponsor cole miller $1k, your fee is substantially less. it would keep the money flowing and it would allow smaller companies to sponsor lower level ufc guys, getting their brands out there and supporting the lower guys.

10/6/13 10:10 AM
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Steve4192
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Steve4192 - 
KOdClowning - More events - more fighters - sponsorship tax - oversaturation - UFC sponsorship is dilluted as it is worth less

There's a million reasons.

WHAT IS THE UFC doing to fix this?

It's not a UFC problem. It's an MMA industry problem. Guys fighting in WSOF, Bellator, and every small show below them are having the same problems.

Nothing the UFC does will change that. If the UFC waives the sponsor tax, it might put more money in Jon Jones pocket, but it won't do shit for the Cole Millers of the world. Sponsors don't see guys at his level as a 'good investment'. They only want to sponsor the top dogs like Jones because those guys have a demonstrable impact on their bottom line.

maybe a tiered sponsorship license? if you want to sponsor jon jones $100k, gsp $150k, etc you must pay the ufc $50k. if you want to sponsor cole miller $1k, your fee is substantially less. it would keep the money flowing and it would allow smaller companies to sponsor lower level ufc guys, getting their brands out there and supporting the lower guys.


I'm pretty sure that is how it works already. The flat $100K fee is a myth.

Honestly, the best way to fix it is to eliminate the reliance on sponsorships altogether. Pay these guys a living wage rather than making them scramble for alternate income streams to pay their bills. Maybe even pay them a monthly stipend while they are under contract.

I think the UFC is eventually going to have to move in that direction, and the sooner the better IMO. Unfortunately, while that would do the Cole Millers of the world a ton of good, it wouldn't do shit for the thousands of fighters NOT in the UFC. They would still be fucked.
10/6/13 10:27 AM
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crazydave
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U Fite Cheap

10/6/13 11:56 AM
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Steve4192
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I think you need to look outside the MMA bubble.

The vast majority of sports leagues don't allow any on-field sponsorships at all. The only one I can think of that does is the NASCAR, and those sponsorships go to the team rather than to the driver himself. Relative to other major sports, the UFC is pretty good to their athletes when it comes to sponsorships. Not as good as they were during the wild west period of MMA sponsorships, but still better than most.

The days of sponsors getting a free ride on UFC broadcasts is over. Zuffa is no longer a fly-by-night operation that allows guerilla marketing. If a company wants to hire a fighter to appear in a commercial, they can do that without paying the UFC a dime. If they want to get their product promoted during a UFC broadcast, they have to pay. That is how big boy sports do it.
10/6/13 12:14 PM
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Lobo8
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KOdClowning - 
Steve4192 - 
KOdClowning - More events - more fighters - sponsorship tax - oversaturation - UFC sponsorship is dilluted as it is worth less

There's a million reasons.

WHAT IS THE UFC doing to fix this?

It's not a UFC problem. It's an MMA industry problem. Guys fighting in WSOF, Bellator, and every small show below them are having the same problems.

Nothing the UFC does will change that. If the UFC waives the sponsor tax, it might put more money in Jon Jones pocket, but it won't do shit for the Cole Millers of the world. Sponsors don't see guys at his level as a 'good investment'. They only want to sponsor the top dogs like Jones because those guys have a demonstrable impact on their bottom line.

No, i STRONGLY disagree. If UFC waives the Sponsor RANSOM today, Cole Miller will receive respectful offers TODAY. It is that simple. The UFC is the crown jewel of MMA.

The sponsor tax drove the sponsors in the UFC away in droves. Since when are the WSOF and Bellator comparable sponsors to the UFC? When it suits the UFC interest!

Those are the minor leagues, remember? Dana White waives the Sponsor Ransom and Cole Millers of the world WILL get paid!


It really is that simple.

The ufc sponsor tax is not meant to hurt the fighters but protect them. By creating a tax you can keep out loser and wannabe brands that dont have much capital to begin with. That in turn helps to keep out these bottom dweller brands who are more likely to not skip out of paying fighters. Basically keep out low money deadbeat brands.
10/6/13 12:17 PM
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Lobo8
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People need to realize that the mma landscape has grown alot in these past few years and more changes are certain to happen. The times of condom depot sponsors are gone. We are going to start moving into more blue chip level brands.
10/6/13 12:18 PM
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fundafighterrob
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Part of the problem is what I believe to be conflicts of interest. Certain management companies are also exclusive representatives for some companies sponsorship money. By doing so, fighters signed to the "wrong" management company won't ever get sponsored by certain companies. I have heard many fighters talk about how they turned down certain sponsorship because it meant them having to sign with a manager they weren't comfortable with. It's similar to managers who also act as matchmakers. The lack of transparency and the attempt to strong arm and support these obvious conflict of interests are what hurts the industry Phone Post 3.0
10/6/13 12:22 PM
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Letibleu
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I'll fight 3  times a year for $24,000 per loss. No sponsorship money needed. 

10/6/13 12:38 PM
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lifeaftrprison
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I'm sick of hearing the it's just like other leagues. It's not a fucking league !! It's a promotion who provides nothing and that means nothing for the independent contractor (fighter). Leagues offer minimum salaries of 350k plus training , travel , doctor , equipment , coaching , food , clothing and also a royalty on those deals. Please stop defending This promotion and comparing it to a league. The reason sponsorship dollars are down is simple , they only have a handful of sponsors who can afford to pay a fee and those sponsors will only put money to the biggest names because they know there is no competition! I'm tired of hearing people act like this is the NFL , it's not even close ! People listen to this garbage Dana spits out how they have deals just like them and they can't wear unapproved gear in the NFL ! No shit , but those players get all of the benefits of being a full time employee , with provided everything possible and get royalties on those deals ! Phone Post 3.0
10/6/13 12:43 PM
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Gullivers Travels
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Even if it's down for everyone, a guy like Cole had a lot more pull coming straight out of TUF. He's had ups and downs and doesn't have the same kind of recognition he used to. I'd bet there is a similar trend for other TUF alums: sponsors offer bigger money right after the show and progressively lessen as time goes on (unless you're huge like Forest, Bisping etc.)
10/6/13 12:44 PM
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Steve4192 - 
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It's because the UFC charges 100k to sponsor atheles in the octogon! 


Every sports league charges sponsors for being on their broadcasts. Just look at the NFL. Peyton Manning has a shitload of sponsors, but he's not allowed to wear their logos on the field. Mastercard, Sony, Kraft, DirectTV, and a bunch of others sponsor him off the field, but aren't allowed on the
field unless they cut a deal with the NFL.

If you want to use the UFC's broadcast to advertise your brand, it is only fair that you pay them. Sponsors are free to sponsor UFC athletes outside the Octagon without paying the UFC, but if you want in the Octagon you've got to pay.

in the nfl the players get a cut of the money

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