With less than 4 months before the UFC’s sponsorship deal with Reebok officially kicks in, it seems like the fighters still aren’t completely informed about what it all actually means. Fighters and managers have earlier been sent a document detailing the new uniform policies, and while this could be a real game changer, most are still left in the dark in terms of knowing more details or actual figures.
“I haven’t heard anything. Just (that it’s) based on the percentages and the rankings,” Frankie Edgar told BloodyElbow.com when asked if he has learned more about the upcoming deal since the announcement. “But I really don’t know what will happen until it happens and we see how’s it gets broken down.”
His next opponent echoed the same sentiment.
Related: Speed Kills: Urijah Faber breaks down UFC: Manila match up against Frankie Edgar
“They’ve given us zero additional info on the Reebok deal, so I can’t really say anything,” Urjiah Faber said Tuesday in Manila. “But I will say that Lorenzo and Frank Fertitta, and Dana White have always, in my mind, been looking out for the bigger picture for the sport so I feel like their intent is genuine.”
Although they both agree that it could be huge for the sport in the long run, there are a few concerns since details are still a bit vague at this point.
“As far as how that’s actually going to look like for fighters, the one thing I’m worried about — and Vitor Belfort brought this up to me — is that a lot of fighters don’t have steady income outside of when they fight,” Faber said. “Some of these sponsorships that we get help you supplement that income throughout the year in case an injury happens, or if you’re not able to get a fight scheduled, etc.”
“That’s the only scary part because we’re not in a secure situation,” he continued. “You have a volatile sport where one injury or one mishap can change things tremendously. You have no steady income and the one time you can really earn a living is if you fight, so that’s the one thing I’m worried about.”
“As far as what the money is or what the money isn’t, I don’t know about that,” he said.
It was stated that the sponsorship money will depend on a scale based on rankings. For the most part, both men agreed that it’s a good idea, except that there should be special cases.
“I’m ranked number one, so it’s okay to me!” Edgar said with a laugh. “It kinda makes sense, but I’m sure there will be exceptions. Your ranking does coincide with how much weight you carry as a fighter so it makes sense.”
Faber on the other hand, is currently the #3 in bantamweight in the UFC. With his upcoming move to featherweight though, a simple switch would severely complicate how he is ranked in 2 divisions, which in turn could mean a drastic change in salary.
“I have no idea,” Urijah said when asked about the ranking tiers. “I don’t know how much money and the difference is (on the payscale) because they haven’t told us one thing about it. I will say that when they talked to us, they brought all the fighters in as a group to relay the new Reebok deal and show us what’s going on, but they left out a lot of details.”
One of the recent cases brought up was Joe Lauzon, a charismatic lightweight who has been known for his bonus winning contests. Even if he’s one of the more popular and tenured fighters, he’s currently unranked, meaning that he could possibly earn as much as a newly signed unknown fighter who is 0-0 in the UFC.
“They took our questions and our feedback. I suggested that they take into consideration how long these guys have been in the league, like what they do in other sports,” Faber explained. “Like if you’ve been a team player for however long, or had a certain amount of fights or wins, they should take that into account.”
Edgar also expects a few early issues with the current structure, but he’s confident that Dana and Lorenzo will help sort things out and adjust as they go along.
“I think they’re going to have to make exceptions, and I’m sure it’s not going to be dry cut — rankings, rankings, you know? The UFC definitely does that in some areas and I’m sure they’ll do that here,” Edgar said. “I think it can only be good for the sport in general. It may have some bumps in the beginning, but eventually it will be good.”
Any worries about the mandatory uniforms are all just speculation at this point, so they’ll all have to wait and see how it all unfolds for them come July.
“Hopefully things will eventually work out as a really fair deal that helps the security of the fighters in the long haul,” Faber states. “But right now, they haven’t given us any new details.”
Edgar and Faber will face off on May 16th, less than two months before the Reebok deal kicks in.
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