In a new interview released today not only does Miesha Tate reveal that she’s set to take a big drop in her sponsorship money as a result of the UFC’s upcoming sponsorship deal with Reebok, but she also states her belief in general it’ll be female fighters who suffer the most financially when it comes into play this July.
“Honestly, I’m not that excited about the numbers,” the current woman’s No.2 ranked bantamweight said. “I’m taking a big loss on my sponsorship dollars, so I’m definitely going to be making nowhere near as much.”
Tate went on to make a compelling argument for why the UFC’s female fighters are going to be most out of pocket due to the way the promotion have structured the payment tiers.
“I think it’s a little bit unfair for Women’s Mixed Martial Arts because we’ve barely been in the UFC very long,” Tate said. “We don’t have the same number of fights as the guys do, because they wouldn’t let us in forever, you know?”
“The UFC has been around a long time, but Women’s MMA in the UFC has been there for a little over two years so it’s not fair. There are guys like Clay Guida and Cowboy Cerrone, they’ve been fighting for the UFC for a long time so they’re going to have more fights because they’re men and they’re allowed to fight in the UFC for a long time. The women have not had the same opportunity.”
It’s a good point. The payment structure announced by the UFC rewards those who’ve been fighting for the promotion the longest, so that automatically puts those competing in the newer female categories at a disadvantage despite the fact.
Looking at Tate’s case in particular, she notes that despite being one of the more active female fighters on the roster with fights in both UFC and Strikeforce (which also count), she still only ends up in the second tier of the Reebok deal which entitles her to $5,000 per fight.
Tate’s partner and current UFC fighter, Bryan Caraway then revealed that she would normally pull in, “roughly 20-25 thousand more than what the champion will make now,” via her own sponsorship deals.
Given that the champion’s tier of the Reebok deal pays out $40,000 per fight that means Tate usually makes around $60,000 – $65,000, so it’s hardly surprising that she’s unhappy with the fact that she’s now only going to be seeing a fraction of that.
It’s not just the female fighters who stand to lose out though. Caraway, who’s currently No.10 on the bantamweight rankings, says that while he doesn’t have the same sponsorship earning potential as his partner, he still stands to lose about $5000 – $10,000 per fight.
As we’ve reported previously, the likes of Brendan Schaub, Tim Kennedy and Matt Mitrione have also acknowledged they are set to take a hit, and this week Gegard Mousasi continued the theme.
“Well, I’m going to make a lot less. Other than that, I can’t say much about it,” the No.7 ranked middleweight Mousasi said. “I’ll be making 4 or 5 times less, it’s a big difference.”
Despite the number of fighters voicing their concerns, UFC president Dana White remains defiant that the Reebok sponsorship deal is good for everybody.
“These guys don’t get it,” White told Power 106 Los Angeles yesterday. “These guys are short-sighted sometimes. It’s good for the industry. It’s good for everybody. You want to have a deal like this.
“Let me tell you what’s going on. Our weigh-ins are live on TV. You see some of the underwear these guys wear? Guys in like SpongeBob SquarePants underwear. We need to take this thing to the next level and have them in all Reebok gear.”
With all due respect, White will need to start coming up with a more compelling argument if he wants to convince the Reebok deals detractors that fighters losing thousands, and in some cases tens of thousands, of dollars per fight is somehow good news for them.
As things stand it’s turning out to be something of a PR disaster and a lose-lose scenario for all concerned, including the UFC and Reebok.