Today the UFC made changes that would impact the Reebok Athlete Outfitting Policy. The now more than two year old agreement with Reebok paid UFC athletes a “sponsorship” fee that was based on the number of fights the fighter had within the organization.
There were seven tiers ranging from $2,500 to $40,000 per fight. A fighter making his or her first appearance inside the octagon would start down on the low end of the spectrum.
When the policy came into effect in 2015 many fighters and fans were against it as athletes were no longer allowed to walk to wear anything other than Reebok during weigh-ins and inside the octagon. Other sponsor logos were also not permitted with UFC approval.
Stated in the new 17-page document sent today to fighters on the UFC roster, fighters with three or fewer appearances in the UFC will receive $3,500 per fight to comply with the new guidelines. Those with four or five appearances will make $5,000. Previously, both of those categories were included in one tier, worth $2,500.
According to UFC Chief Operating Officer Lawrence Epstein, more than half of the UFC’s roster falls into those first two tiers.
“This gives the shorter-tenured fighters on our roster an increase,” Epstein said. “We felt this was the most impactful, meaningful way to get more money to our athletes.”
The UFC still will not permit fighters or their team to bring sponsor banners to the octagon, however they feel this marginal pay increase is a step in the right direction.
“We always want to hear from the athletes,” Epstein said. “I know we’re trying to do the right thing every day in the UFC. Our heart is in the right place. Listening to the athletes is a big part of that, and part of the changes we’re making today are a reflection of that.”
Other new changes in the policy:
Athletes are required to provide four days of “advance” media promotions, six hours of “fight week” promotion and one hour of “postfight” promotion.
Those competing in main or co-main slots of events are also required to allow UFC camera access eight days prior to a fight. And twice per year, the UFC can request a one-day, eight-hour commercial shoot.