Loophole in the UFC’s Reebok Deal?

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Has Sam Alvey found a loophole in the UFC’s Reebok Deal? At UFC Fight Night 65, Alvey displayed his sponsor’s tag with a spray-tan tattoo. What a shot! I like the tongue-in-cheek rebellion that Alvey is making. It was well crafted and reminiscent of those Jim McMahon – Pete Rozelle battles of the mid 80’s. Remember the head bands? The NFL came down on the Bears, Pro-bowl quarterback for advertising on his headbands. The NFL banned all headband advertising after that. Then, McMahon came back in a Taco-Bell television commercial wearing a Taco-Bell headband. In the commercial McMahon takes a bite of a taco and says, “Hey Pete.” Classic! The only thing missing from Alvey’s actions was that look into the camera and the words, “Hey Dana.”

The UFC-Reebok pay structure has caused this type of rebellion from UFC fighters and managers alike. As it stands, the current tenure-based system awards fighters sponsorship money is based on the number of (Zuffa) fights they have. The meager pay ranges from $2,500 for 1-5 fights to $40,000 for champions. While some veterans are okay with the deal, other newbies are dropping from six-figures to $10,000. There is conflict brewing as a summit of sports managers plan to meet in Las Vegas. Many managers have voiced their discontent with the new deal. Some managers are claiming that only 10 to 15 percent of fighters will benefit from the UFC’s uniform deal with Reebok. So what about the other 85 percent?

Monte Cox, MMA managing veteren, claims that guys in Bellator will be making more in sponsorship money than in a UFC main event. Most other managers raise the same concerns that Cox does.

“I don’t have anyone on my team that thinks it’s a good deal… The only people who like it are the guys who have 20 fights and still aren’t title contenders.” Monte Cox .

However, there is one manager who does side with the UFC. John Fosco, who manages veterans like Travis Browne and Clay Guida, is against the concept of allowing fighters to choose their sponsors..

“The guys who do NOT sell tickets and do NOT get ratings… what the f*ck are they worth? They’re not owed anything. You want to make money? Go knock the f*ck out of people… Jon Fosco

Quotes via MMAFighting.com

Starting July 7th (the week of UFC 189), fighters will no longer be able to wear their own sponsors. They will only be allowed to wear Reebok at any UFC-related event. So who will be the first to violate the rule, and what happens if you have a tattoo of your sponsors? According to the standing rule, a fighter cannot display on his person, any sponsors’ names or likenesses without the permission of the UFC. Does this include tattoos? I am quite sure that the UFC would say yes, which would result in a violation of the code of conduct and be subject to punishment. How this will play out is anyone’s guess. As for  Sam Alvey, he would most likely be fined, just like Jim McMahon and we would all support him even more for it. So I guess we have no choice but to take a collective bite of the UFC”s new policy, crap sandwich and say, “Hey Dana.”