UFC 260 marked the last time UFC fighters wore Reebok apparel in their fights. The next time UFC fighters enter the cage, they will be sporting a new look with the fight sports brand Venum and along with it comes a slight financial benefit.
UFC Venum Apparel Deal
Reported first by ESPN’s Marc Raimondi, according to UFC senior executive vice president and chief operating officer Lawrence Epstein, the new fight gear will be revealed next week and debuted at UFC Fight Night on April 10th.
Furthermore, the UFC’s new deal with Venum regarding the “fight week incentive pay” towards fighters will see a slight increase from the previous Reebok deal. This is bonus money paid towards the fighter per fight in exchange for wearing the Venum apparel, promotional duties and complying to code of conduct.
ESPN’s Ariel Helwani tweeted financial statistics to show the pay structure regarding the newly changed incentive pay.
Here is the payment structure breakdown, which was sent to all fighters (or their reps) this AM: pic.twitter.com/UCxlI50Mti
— Ariel Helwani (@arielhelwani) April 1, 2021
UFC Venum Deal means slight increase in fighter pay
The “fight week incentive pay” amount will vary according to the status of the fighter. Champions like Kamaru Usman will receive $42,000 per bout instead of $40,000 under Reebok. Title challengers like Jorge Masvidal at the upcoming UFC 261, will receive $32,000 instead of $30,000. An increase of $2000 for both champions and title challengers.
Veteran fighters with 21+ UFC fights like Jim Miller and Donald Cerrone will receive $21,000, slight increase from 20,000 from Reebok. Fighters with 16-20 fights like Kelvin Gastelum will receive $16,000 compared to $15,000 before with Reebok. These veteran fighters see a $1000 increase.
Entry-level fighters with 1-3 UFC fighters will receive $4000 compared to $3500 before and fighters with 4-5 UFC fights will receive $4500 compared to $4000 before. A mere increase of $500 for these relatively new UFC fighters.
Fighters with 6-10 UFC fights will receive $6000 compared to $5000 before and fighters with 11-15 UFC fights will receive $11000 compared to $10000 under Reebok. An increase of $1000 for these fighters.
As we can see, the biggest increase in pay will be for the champions and title challengers, both participants receiving $2000 more than what they got from Reebok. And the smallest increase in pay will be for UFC fighters with only 1-5 UFC fights under their belt, a slight increase of $500.
Lawrence Epstein Approves UFC Venum Gear
Epstein admitted that the new aesthetics and quality of the Venum clothing looks great for the UFC brand but insisted that the new deal is primarily for the UFC fighters to get paid.
“This is not a profit center for us,” Epstein said. “Whether it’s cash out the door or where it’s product, we’re delivering it to the athletes. All the value is essentially going to them. We’re not really making anything on this. We do feel the look and feel of the product itself is great for the UFC brand, but when it comes to cash it’s all going to the athletes, whether in actual cash or product.”
Epstein added that the UFC-Venum deal will be “three or so years” and Reebok will remain the footwear partner of the UFC.
“As good as the Reebok product was, Venum has taken this up a notch with just the quality of construction [and] the thoughtfulness of how our athletes will use the products,” Epstein said.
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