It’s stuff like this that makes me sad that there’s not a serious alternative to the UFC:
Traditionally, UFC fighters have been able to cut their own sponsorship deals with companies for the rights to their fight shorts, T-shirts and caps they wear before and after bouts. These agreements, which can often land regional and local companies on fight gear, provide an additional source of revenue to supplement fighters’ UFC contracts. The UFC has policed this practice, preventing some sponsorships from happening, but it has not owned the deal-flow process.
However, the days of fighters’ managers cutting those deals appear to be ending.
MMAjunkie.com (www.mmajunkie.com) has learned through an industry source that the UFC is considering a new sponsorship business model, which would require any company interested in sponsoring a fighter to work directly with the UFC. The UFC would negotiate the deal for the fighter and charge the sponsoring company a promotional fee for the right to have its brand on display on fighters in the octagon.
Okay, let’s not flip out just yet. First off, this is just an idea at this point. Secondly, the UFC would probably be able to make more money for it’s fighters than their managers currently do. Still, I’m sure you are all with me when I say this is another spooky step towards totalitarian rule by the UFC.
This isn’t exactly a Google situation either … it’s not like Dana and the gang have a “Don’t be Evil” policy written into their mandate. The UFC has shown time and time again that when anyone goes against the forward flow of the company, they’re dead meat. So would it be very surprising to hear that the next time a fighter is frozen out, his sponsorships are also pulled out from under him? Hey, I know that’s a pretty big assumption but the UFC regularly figures out new ways to double-dildo rape people. You can’t run your business in a cut-throat manner for years and then expect people to trust you when it comes to shit like this.
This kind of deal also cuts down on manager influence as well, something I’m sure you’ll see more and more now that the ghost of a fighter’s union has reared it’s head.