UFC fighters split on benefits, drawbacks of new deal with Reebok

Some UFC fighters, like Joe Lauzon (R), are quite happy with the new Reebok deal announced by the UFC this week. Others are not quite so optimistic.

Josh Hedges/Zuffa LLC/Zuffa LLC via Getty Images

Lauzon says that smart fighters will do as he did and negotiate with the UFC when it comes time to work out new contracts, to try and make up the difference in lost sponsorship money. "I’m super happy and I have no interest in fighting anywhere else," he says.

"I’m grateful for the UFC because of the platform they’ve given me, but that’s a silly comparison," Schaub says.

"The changes really affects a guy like me," he says.

"I’m a marketable guy outside the cage. I speak well. I’ve always made most of my money outside the cage – in sponsorships. I’m fortunate. I’ve made some smart decisions outside fighting, starting a podcast and other things. So, I’m not upset. I make great money. I’ve got one of the most successful podcasts in the world. I’ll make more off selling Fighter and The Kid t-shirts in one month than if I fought three times for Reebok with this new deal.

"So, I’m doing fine. I’ve always been happy fighting for the UFC, and I still am. They’ve given me a great platform to go out and do other things. I wouldn’t have been able to do these other things which have made me money, if I weren’t fighting in the UFC."

With that said, Schaub says he knows that many other fighters are not in his same position, financially. "If I were one of those guys fighting to keep the lights on, fighting to support my family, I’d be pretty freaked out, right now," he says.

Schaub advises fighters to do all they can to not rely on money from the UFC. "I don’t count on the UFC to pay my bills," he says.

"This should be a lesson to other fighters – You don’t want someone else making decisions for your lives. I have never counted on Dana White considering how a decision he makes will affect Brendan Schaub. I know he does not think like that. He thinks about how a decision will affect Dana, Lorenzo, and the UFC. I think that with the number of UFC fights I have, I’ll make $10,000 per fight from Reebok. I made that much my second fight, outside the UFC. For ten grand, sponsors used to get a small fill-in patch for fights. It’s going to be tough for a lot of guys. I’m doing fine but I feel bad for them. I saw Lorenzo Fertitta say that they knew that some fighters wouldn’t be happy with the new deal. Yeah, no s***.

"So, fighters need to do everything they can to create opportunities for themselves off of the platform they have with the UFC. Do every interview you can. Be active on Twitter, start a podcast. This could be good for the lighter, more active, guys, though. If you pull a Donald Cerrone and fight a ton, then yeah, this will be good for you. But if not, or if you’re a heavier guy, or a title contender or champion, who fights a couple times a year, it may be rougher."

Anthony Pettis warms up backstage in his Reebok gear. (Photo by Mike Roach/Zuffa LLC/Zuffa LLC via Getty Images)

We’re going to see an overall normalization of sponsor pay, now.

Brendan Schaub says that the individual Reebok deals for the likes of Conor McGregor, as well as royalty details for fighters is still a "mystery."

We can say that this deal is the same as other sports have until we are blue in the face, but it is just not true