The UFC’s new uniform deal with Reebok doesn’t kick in until July 2015, but that doesn’t mean heavyweight Brendan Schaub (pictured) isn’t already suffering the effects of the “groundbreaking” partnership.
On Monday’s “Joe Rogan Experience”/”Fighter and The Kid” collaboration podcast, Schaub revealed his sponsorships used to account for roughly two-thirds of his salary for each fight. Despite the fact he fought Travis Browne on Saturday, the UFC’s third ranked heavyweight, on the main card of a pay-per-view broadcast that featured two championship affairs, Schaub received the least sponsorship dollars he ever has in his professional career at UFC 181.
“I make twice as much money off sponsors than I do what the UFC pays me. They all go away [with the Reebok deal],” Schaub stated. “But even for this fight, even though they knew the Reebok deal started in July, I’d say six of my sponsors were like, ‘No. We can’t do it, man. There’s no future for us.’
“It’s the lowest I’ve ever made in sponsorship money, the Travis Browne fight. Ever. It’s crazy, right?”
The Nevada Athletic Commission reported Monday that Schaub scored $32,000 to show against Browne. That means “Big Brown” took a big $60,000ish hit because of the UFC’s new contract with Reebok.
UFC brass have been adamant that every fighter they have spoken to about Reebok “love” it. Schaub emphasized that he doesn’t know the specifics of the UFC’s new sponsorship arrangement, and he’s not the only one. Urijah Faber, who owns Torque, which makes high performance MMA athletic gear and apparel and sponsors several UFC fighters including himself, revealed this past weekend that he too didn’t know the particulars on the Reebok deal.
Schaub believes the top stars will benefit the most from Reebok’s presence, as well as the lower-tier fighters. For middle-of-the-road guys like himself, which likely accounts for much of the UFC’s roster, it might be tough cookies.
“I’m not hating on the deal, I don’t know the details,” Schaub added. “From what I know, I think it helps the top five guys and the champs, then the guys in the middle I don’t think it’s going to help, or if you’re a name or you’re on the main card I don’t think it’s going to help, but it helps the new guys, too, who don’t get sponsors. Because then here’s Reebok, ‘Here, wear this uniform.'”
From what is currently known about the UFC’s arrangement with Reebok, fighters will pocket “the vast majority” of the reported $70 million over six years. UFC athletes will be paid a presently-unknown amount according to their ranking.
Champions negotiate their own deals with Reebok and earn the largest checks. Everyone else is tiered based on ranking (1-5, 6-10, 11-15 and 16+ receive a flat salary).
Fighters will also receive a 20 percent cut on the back end for anything Reebok sells that contains their likeness.
Because the UFC just announced the Reebok deal last week, there’s plenty of grey area. However, Schaub is already in the red.