UFC 260 was the final event under the promotion’s full outfitting deal with Reebok and now combat sports brand Venum is taking over.
The deal started today on 1 April and details of Venum’s new position as the UFC uniform partner were released by the leading mixed martial arts banner.
According to ESPN, Venum’s new fight kit designs will be unveiled next week ahead of the UFC’s next event on 10 April.
UFC senior executive vice president and chief operating officer Lawrence Epstein also told ESPN that the Venum deal will see “fight week incentive pay” increased for its fighters up and down the roster.
The Reebok deal that began in 2014 saw the UFC introduce their payment structure policy that bundles their outfitting policy, promotional duties and code of conduct for a bonus that was paid per fight on top of a fighter’s purse in place of that fighter having to source their own sponsors ahead of a bout.
Per ESPN’s report, Epstein said that the promotion was boosting that pay scale by $1million annually. That equates to champions being paid $42,000 per bout on top of their contracted fight pay, compared to the $40,000 figure paid under the Reebok deal.
Here are the rest of the payments broken down by number of fights or championship/title challenger status
1-3 Bouts: $4,000
4-5 Bouts: $4,500
6-10 Bouts: $6,000
11-15 Bouts: $11,000
16-20 Bouts: $16,000
21+ Bouts: $21,000
Title Challenger: $32,000
Epstein said “essentially” the entire value of the Venum deal will be going back to its contracted fighters.
“This is not a profit center for us,” Epstein said. “Whether it’s cash out the door or where it’s product, we’re delivering it to the athletes.
“All the value is essentially going to them. We’re not really making anything on this. We do feel the look and feel of the product itself is great for the UFC brand, but when it comes to cash it’s all going to the athletes, whether in actual cash or product.”
The UFC’s Reebok deal was controversial when it first came to fruition in 2014. A lot of fighters claimed they had lost large sums in sponsorship revenue and the fight week incentive pay did little to cover the money they lost in sponsorship contracts they had secured for previous bouts. The Reebok uniform partnership stopped fighters wearing their own gear with their own sponsors and that trend will continue with Venum.
With the outfitting partnership and the UFC’s sponsorship tax, the promotion has targeted large corporate sponsors such as Monster Energy to fund fighters and have their logos emblazoned on fight gear. However, such deals tend to only go to champions and other top, big-name UFC competitors. Epstein says fighters are still allowed to source their own sponsors for “non-fight-week related stuff.”
Reebok will continue its relationship with the UFC in providing footwear for the promotion’s athletes.