It didn’t take long to notice that there was something different about Matt Wiman when he entered the octagon at UFC Fight Night 57 in Austin last weekend. Was it his hair? Was he a little smaller than he was before his long layoff? Maybe, but the most noticeable thing was that he didn’t have any sponsor patches on his plain UFC shorts. He didn’t even have a banner. He explained why in a recent appearance on The MMA Hour with Ariel Helwani:
“I think if it was a good opportunity, I’m not opposed to it. The opportunities that are on hand, I might have been able to make like $1500 if I hustled a bit, you know, maybe a couple of grand if I hustled a bit. It’s not necessarily worth it.
I compare it to this, – it’s going to be kind of a crude analogy, but I’ve heard and I was never a pot head or anything like that. But I’ve heard that the worst part about taking drugs was dealing with drug dealers. I think that the worst part about sponsors is the people around them. Sleazy wannabe managers. And people that represent this or try to have a connection there, it’s pretty obnoxious. So I try to kind of ignore that part. It just seems more trouble than it’s worth.”
Connecting sponsors/managers to drug dealers is actually a pretty apt comparison. While I’m sure there are many reputable sponsors out there, fighters are becoming more and more vocal about it being one of the more annoying things they have to do to make money. Money is money, but when it’s such a struggle for a relatively small amount? In Wiman’s case, it wasn’t worth the hassle. At least he was able to collect a winner’s check – he defeated Isaac Vallie-Flagg by unanimous decision.
About the author