UFC bantamweight prospect Sean O’Malley is not happy with the slice of the pie he says he’s received as part of the promotion’s sponsorship deal with Reebok.
It’s long been known that as part of the UFC-Reebok agreement, fighters are supposed to receive royalties from their own merchandise sales. In an appearance on Brendan Schaub’s Food Truck Diaries, he says his products have generated over $1 million in sales, but his royalty percentage is not even 1%.
“I got royalties from Reebok,” O’Malley said (via MMA Fighting). “If I read it right – which I think I did, and I even sent it to my dad like, ‘Did I read this right?’ and he said yes, so unless we both can’t read – Reebok made over a million dollars on all my merch, and I got like $3,000. I’m like, what the f-ck?
“It’s ridiculous. I thought I got 15%. And they’re like ‘Well, you get 15% of this, but of this, and then these guys get it, and then you get 15% of that.’ I’m like holy sh-t, you guys are f-cking me. Then, they make all these sweet shirts on Reebok and I’m like, damn. I tell people, ‘Don’t buy that!’”
These numbers have not been verified independently, but needless to say this didn’t make O’Malley particularly happy. Reebok did email an official statement to Footwear News’ Peter Verry, which reads as follows.
“Royalties paid out on sales of co-branded UFC and Reebok merchandise are dictated by the contract between the individual fighter and the UFC.”
The UFC-Reebok deal is set to expire at the end of this year, and based on Dana White’s recent interviews it is unlikely that there will be a renewal. Since its implementation in 2015, the Reebok sponsorship program has been met with mixed (at best) reaction, with the majority of those in a recent fighters’ survey on The Athletic saying it has not benefited them.
O’Malley is coming off a spectacular KO against Eddie Wineland at UFC 250. He said he intends to renegotiate his contract, which saw him receive a purse of $80,000 ($40,000/$40,000). At the moment, he’s his own manager, but he did reveal to Schaub that he’s “talking to a huge, a really, really, really big agency about managing me, but not for fights.”
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