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The wild west of fighter sponsorship may be over

Sam Caplan returns from working with WAMMA, M-1 Global, and Showtime to break this interesting story on a pretty huge shift in the UFC’s sponsorship model:

Five Ounces of Pain was able to obtain an e-mail distributed by the UFC’s legal department that now lists Dethrone, One More Round, and Rolling Stone as a list of sponsors that will not be approved for UFC 100 on July 11. Unacceptable sponsors for UFC 100 also online Poker sponsors Full Tilt Poker, Ultimate Bet, and Party Poker.

Clothing sponsors that are approved for UFC 100 include Cage Fighter, MMA Authentic, Familia Gladitoria and MMA Elite. The source added that several clothing sponsors have indicated that they were contacted recently by the UFC and informed that in order to have the ability to sponsor a UFC fighter during a UFC-promoted event that they would have to pay a $100,000 fee to the UFC for the right to sponsor a fighter. contacted several other managers and agents who represent UFC fighters and they reaffirmed every detail brought forth by the original source.

I suppose this is the start of that stuff MMA Junkie was talking about a while back. Everyone over at FightOpinion is flipping the fuck out. Personally, I think it’s too early to jump onto the “UFC is fucking over fighters” bandwagon when there’s a good chance fighters will now be coming out with a single well-paying Ford sponsorship (if Ford still exists, I haven’t been paying attention) rather than a giant spew of condom wholesalers and used car dealerships from Stockton.

Dana White is kinda like the Stalin of MMA: you can tell he’s got this awesome vision of the future but it’s gotta be HIS future and if he has to kill a few million people to achieve it, well then that’s okay by him. Stalin’s whole gig didn’t exactly work out too well for anyone but Stalin, but that’s just a metaphor and it’s hard to know right now if fighters will benefit from this change or suffer. Mainly because the UFC is all about signing fighters for pennies and dealing out sponsorships, bonus money, and occasional “Just because we love you” checks based on how much they like you at the time. It might be a pretty sweet deal for those in Dana White’s favor, but it doesn’t lead to a whole lot of financial security for anyone.