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A Solution To The Reebok Deal?

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Many have criticised the UFC for the recent Reebok deal, mostly because of the poor distribution of fighter’s payment from the new sponsor, leaving many in the roster with a bitter taste in their mouth. The latest report gives the following information about how the independent contractors will be receiving money from Reebok’s investment.

UFC-Reebok fighter payout structure

UFC-Reebok fighter payout structure

 

Jeff Wagenheim and Ariel Helwani mentioned in a passing conversation on the MMA Beat the possibility of paying fighters based on where they place on a UFC card. They quickly moved on from this concept but after thinking about it, why not? To me it makes perfect sense on determining the fighter pay on a mixture of their skill level and popularity which is usually how the fight cards are planned. You will be placed closer to the main event based on your skill and success or how big of a draw you are for the organisation.

Those on the early Prelims would receive a low amount, this being because they are usually local fighters to the location the fight is being held and they are making their UFC debut. Those on the regular Prelims may receive an average sum as they are usually the up and comers in the roster who already have a couple fights under their belt and sometimes have ventured into the top 15 in some weight divisions so are more of a draw than those on the early prelims. Finally those on the main card especially the main event would receive the most as they have usually had a good number of fights and have experience a greater degree of success and/or are popular so bring more eyes to the sport. This could also be adjusted whether the event is a PPV or showing on Fox Sports.

This to me is the best of a bad situation, the original plan meant fighters payment was based on ranking but this seemed absurd as fighters such as Sarah Kaufman receiving the same as Anderson Silva, not to say Kaufman is not a talented fighter but in comparison to Silva has not yet achieved the same success or have as much focus on her career as the former P4P champ. This was scrapped and replaced with the current plan which too many is equally unfeasible. Those who have fought for a long time such as Gleison Tibau, a man with 25 UFC bouts to his name who deserves recognition. For me however he may not be as relevant or popular as someone such as Khabib Nurmagomedov. Nurmagomedov has 6 fights so would be receiving around $1500 less than Tibau. Having said this because Tibau has been fighting for so long he is also often on the main card so would be receiving a similar amount to the Russian and others like him so this seems much more fair.

I am all for rewarding veterans of the game for their long time servitude to the organisation. I am not convinced however that this justifies paying those who have less fights but are more relevant significantly less. Brendan Schaub, Myles Jury and Roger Narvaez to name only a few, have expressed disgust in the sport apparel deal. It should be said though that Dana has made a call to Matt Mitrione to find out how much he was losing every fight. Mitrione who was previously very upset about with the payment scheme commented on this tweeting about it and said ‘It’s a start’.

Although I am by no means a business expert, I think the divide between fighters and the UFC is enough cause for concern. Realistically it’s going to harm the UFC, which is a shame because the fighters not having a uniform and having sponsors on their shorts really was a bit of a non-issue, so who was complaining about this? I think it sounds like Dana might be sorting some guys out but in conclusion maybe paying guys based on their card placement might be a good option for further consideration.

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Interviews

UFC 219’s Jimmie Rivera to TJ Dillashaw “Defend Your Belt or Vacate.”

Harry Davies

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MMA Latest had the chance to talk to #4 ranked UFC bantamweight Jimmie “El Terror” Rivera ahead of his fight at UFC 219 against John Lineker.

Rivera (21-1) extended his unbeaten run to twenty when he defeated Thomas Almeida at UFC Long Island in July. Originally scheduled to face former bantamweight champion Dominick Cruz, we began by asking Rivera how the opponent change had affected his preparation for UFC 219.

The only thing that’s changed is the game plan, everything else stays the same. Cruz is more of an irritating fight because he just doesn’t stop moving, but with Lineker, he’s going to stay in the pocket and bang, and I love that.

Recently, Rivera posted a video to his Twitter account of him sparring with the recently crowned bantamweight champion, TJ Dillashaw. He told us about the context of this video, and how the sparring went down between them.

It was 3 or 4 years back. I think TJ had just lost to (John) Dodson on TUF. My teammate Louis Gaudinot was actually fighting Tim Elliott at the time, and we were in Milwaukee so I got to train with (Urijah) Faber and Dillashaw.

I just sent it to TJ to say, don’t forget what happened. I was getting the best of him, and I don’t really brag about it. But he wants to leave the weight class and fight DJ for the money fight, and I want to fight for the belt, so it’s defend your belt or vacate.

After briefly referencing the potential superfight between Demetrious Johnson and TJ Dillashaw, I asked Rivera about his thoughts on the somewhat flawed UFC rankings system, and title fights being put together purely for entertainment value.

It sucks. When I become champ I won’t be like a TJ or McGregor, I’m going to be like Demetrious Johnson and defend my belt against people coming up, it’s the right thing to do. If you want to win the belt and leave the division straight away, it’s kind of bullshit.

Rivera concluded by telling me that although he isn’t looking past Lineker at 219, “the only fight that makes sense after this one, is fighting TJ for the belt.”

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Announcement

Mark Hunt Returns to Fight Curtis Blaydes at UFC 221

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UFC 221 in Perth has officially added a another Australian to the main card. Joining Robert Whittaker is the knockout legend Mark Hunt.

The Daily Telegraph first reported that Hunt will be stepping into the octagon to face #9 Curtis Blaydes. Some weren’t sure if we would ever see Hunt fight again after he was pulled from the main event in UFC Fight Night 21 against Marcin Tybura. The UFC removed him due to “medical concerns” while Hunt was stating he was perfectly fine.

After getting evaluated and cleared to fight by Australian and American doctors, it looks like his time has come to return.  Hunt’s last fight was back in June when he derailed the Derrick Lewis hype train with a 4th round TKO win.

Hunt had been adamant about calling out #3 ranked heavyweight Fabricio Werdum and trying to get that rematch booked, labelling Werdum a “chicken shit” and a “coward.”

Curtis “Razor” Blaydes who has an 8-1 record, is coming off a TKO victory due to doctor stoppage at UFC 217 in November. Since losing to now title challenger Francis Ngannou in April of 2016, Blaydes has rattled off three straight wins over Alexey Oleynik, Daniel Omielanczuk, and Cody East.

With all this momentum from the win streak, Blaydes looks to capitalize and win the biggest fight of his career against Hunt.

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Valentina Shevchenko vs. Priscila Cachoeira Officially Booked for Belem, Brazil card

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The wait is over. Valentina Shevchenko (14-3, 3-2 UFC) will make her highly anticipated flyweight debut when the UFC returns to Brazil. She will face Priscila Cachoeira (8-0) on the February 3rd card scheduled for Belem, Brazil. Luciana Andrade was the first to report the match-up last week. On Tuesday, the UFC posted an article which stated the bout had been set.

Now that the flyweight tournament is over and the inaugural champion has her crown, many women shall migrate from the strawweight and bantamweight ranks in search of a more suitable weight class. The division is so infantile means a lot moving parts in the rankings. Yet, only women who fought at one hundred and twenty-five lbs. are ranked. Such practices muddy the title picture for the time being. Essentially ruling out the idea of Montano vs. Shevchenko for the first defense of the belt, illogical. An idea that floated around the internet until today’s confirmation of the newest female flyweight match-up. The TUF 26 winner, Nicco Montano called it, “kinda silly”, earlier this week while on The MMA Hour. Montano believes her first title defense, as it stands, should pit her against the original finalist of the flyweight tournament, Sijara Eubanks. Although Eubanks withdrew from the title fight, she is still ranked as the #1 contender in the division.

Shevchenko explained her desire for the flyweight belt on The MMA Hour, a week earlier than Montano, “For me it’s number one, to fight for the title… It doesn’t matter for me, if I have to have one fight before it, okay I will do it… my main goal is to be the champion… It doesn’t matter I move from one thirty-five to one twenty-five. My goal is still the same, to be the champion”. The Russian fighter is coming off an unsuccessful title shot in the bantamweight division against the current reigning champ, Amanda Nunes. The bout went to a decision after close five rounds, Nunes ultimately defeated Shevchenko via split decision (47-48, 48-47, 48-47).

Her opponent, Priscila Cachoeira, is not only new to the UFCs female flyweight division but the promotion’s roster as well. Cachoeira originally was scheduled to make her promotional debut against veteran Lauren Murphy at The Ultimate Fighter Finale 26. The Brazilian fighter withdrew from the bout due to visa issues. As a professional, she is undefeated with four knockouts in her eight fights.

UFC Belem is scheduled for February 3rd, 2018. The card will feature Timothy Johnson vs. Marcelo Golm in the heavyweight division. It will also have Thiago Santos taking on Anthony Smith in the middleweight division.

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