Three days after Fabricio Werdum took to social media to protest against Reebok, the Brazilian has been removed from his UFC broadcast duties.
Werdum again took to his Instagram on Friday to notify the public that the UFC had removed him from his television role as an analyst and commentator on the UFC’s Spanish speaking broadcasts.
“I just want to make everything clear about my post of Nike and Reebok. I did this to protest about the sponsorship,” Werdum wrote. “Before Rebook got into UFC, all the fighters use to do a lot of money with other sponsors, including me, and now they paying me only $5,000 per fight. I didn’t get penalized because I have to contract with them, but they cut me out of the TV broadcast #UFCnetwork.”
Esclarecendo a polêmica sobre @reebok @ufc @ufc_brasil @sherdogdotcom / // Clarifying the controversy @reebok @ufc I just want to make everything clear about my post of Nike and Reebok. I did this to protest about the sponsorship, before Rebook got into UFC, all the fighters use to do a lot of money with other sponsors, including me, and now they paying me only $5,000 per fight. I didn’t get penalized because I have to contract with them, but they cut me out of the tv broadcast #UFCnetwork
The former UFC heavyweight champion explains in the video, speaking solely Portuguese, that he has not been fined by the UFC or punished by Reebok themselves, but instead has been removed from his UFC television duties.
Werdum has acted as on-air analyst and commentator over the past several years for the UFC covering various shows in Latin America.
He goes on to state that the initial protest against Reebok was born out of frustration at the sponsorship pay scale. He explains that he used to earn anywhere between $100,000 to $200,000 from outside sponsorship alone before the Reebok deal came in to place. Now he earns just $5,000 per fight in line with the pay scale, which pays fighters on their UFC tenure, rather than stature, popularity and other things.
On Tuesday Werdum posted a photo on Instagram of himself wearing the UFC fight kit, but with a Nike logo in place of the Reebok one followed by the caption: “I’m not generic, I’m Nike since childhood! #suck #myballs #reebok.” He then took to his Facebook page and explained his post was done in protest and he urged fighters to speak out against the situation.
“It was just a protest,” Werdum said. “Something that before we could show any sponsor we wanted. We used to get real good money, it was a lot different from Reebok. Today, with Reebok there is a pay scale, if you have a certain number of fights you get $5,000, $8.000. Of course it’s good money, but nothing like it was before, so of course it was a protest.
“I think fighters need to start speaking because no one is happy,” Werdum continued. “It’s something that is in our contract, we have to sign it and end of story. We don’t have options. It was nice because it [the photo] was featured even in Globo.com. People talking, ‘Werdum signed with Nike’, no, but if Nike is interested, we’re here.”
In that initial Facebook video Werdum informs fans that he would not get into trouble for the protest as he has no contractual obligation to Reebok.
“The people thinking I will get in trouble, nothing will happen,” he said. “I even tell the fighters, if some company won’t sponsor you, you have to cover up their names, gloves, shin guards, don’t make free promotion. That’s our job, our image, our fights. Just because someone sends you some gloves you don’t need to keep making several posts with them. That’s not how it works, you have to value your image.”
Werdum (21-6-1) is scheduled to rematch Cain Velasquez at UFC 207 on Dec. 30. The Brazilian defeated Velasquez in June. 2015 to become the undisputed UFC heavyweight champion following a successful stint in Strikeforce.
Fabricio Werdum has since responded to being fired. Speaking to MMAFighting.com he said the following:
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“It’s a done deal, they took me forever,” Werdum told MMA Fighting’s Guilherme Cruz. “As a commentator, I always helped promote the sport in Latin America. I never had a contract with them, so they can release me any time they want. That’s what happened.”
“I won’t go (back) after this,” Werdum said. “It’s the second time it has happened. I didn’t go to (film in) Colombia once before because my wife had dengue and then I was on vacation, but they didn’t understand me and took me off of [the broadcast]. I asked Dana White and he put me back on. And now because of this post.
“I don’t have anything with Reebok, only during the fight. They can do anything. Did a post? Lose your job as commentator. If I had lost it because I was doing a poor job and nobody likes me, fine, but I know it’s not the case. I know I was doing a good job because I get messages from all Latin America saying that, and I have already received messages from people saying they will cancel the channel now.”