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The Ultimate Fighting Championship is on paper boosting the dollar amount it will pay fighters under its outfitting policy, but fighters should read the fine print first.
The promotion announced through ESPN on Thursday that the Venum outfitter arrangement has commenced effective April 1, with Reebok relegated exclusively to footwear with the UFC going forward. The first official use of the Venum gear and fight kits will take place at UFC on ABC 2 on April 10, which is still in search for a replacement headliner after Darren Till broke his collarbone.
Per UFC senior executive vice president and chief operating officer Lawrence Epstein, the promotion will be boosting the total pay for athletes by approximately $1 million. Fighters in every tier of UFC experience will be paid more compared to their amounts from 2017. UFC newcomers, those with one to three bouts, will now be paid $4,000 compared to their previous $3,500. Champs and challengers will get a slight bump of $2,000 from their previous amounts, as well. According to ESPN, the Venum deal does not pay as much as Reebok’s $70 million, six-year contract did, while specifying that the new partnership will last around three years. When adjusted for inflation, as reviewed by Bloody Elbow, the boost is actually a relative decrease in pay.
Fighters will still be allowed to partner with other sponsors cleared by the UFC, like Monster Energy, and can make arrangements with outside vendors for anything involving “non-fight-week related stuff.” The same set of requirements are in place from Reebok to Venum, other than one small but noteworthy change. Athletes will now be required to check in and submit their mouthpieces for review, per MMA Fighting. The athletes will not be allowed to wear mouthguards that display other logos or non-UFC trademarks, but they can use those that show names, country flags and other designs that the UFC approves.
The breakdown of every tier reads as follows:
1-3 Bouts: $4,000
4-5 Bouts: $4,500
6-10 Bouts: $6,000
11-15 Bouts: $11,000
16-20 Bouts: $16,000
21+ Bouts: $21,000
Title Challenger: $32,000