Bellator MMA middleweight kingpin and former UFC contender, Gegard Mousasi has claimed that the promotion’s uniform and outfitting deal with global brand, Reebok – which initially came into effect in 2015, was a way for the promotion to “steal” from fighters on their roster.
Mousasi, the current undisputed middleweight champion, is slated to return under the Scott Coker-led banner at Bellator 282 in June, clashing with Johnny Elben following a first round knockout win over Austin Vanderford back in February at Bellator Dublin in another successful defense of his middleweight throne.
Debuting under the scrutiny of Bellator back in October 2017, Mousasi has so far established a 7-1 promotional record from eight total fights.
Mousasi, a former Strikeforce, Cage Warriors, and Dream gold holder, made his move to the UFC back in April 2013, and despite riding a five fight winning run, including a victory over former middleweight champion, Chris Weidman, Mousasi never competed for Octagon gold before linking up with Bellator.
Gegard Mousasi shares his thoughts on the criticized Reebok deal with the UFC
Penning a contract with the organization following his win against Weidman, Mousasi has detailed how he earns a more lucrative payday per fight as a result with Bellator – in comparison to a massive dip in sponsorship money earned in the UFC, as he noted with the introduction of the Reebok deal with the organization.
“You took those away, you put Reebok,” Gegard Mousasi told Robin Black on Haymakers,” All the money went to UFC. Paying a fighter that can make $200,000 a fight, then it goes to $10,000 (with) Reebok. That’s stealing from the fighter. They could’ve said, ‘Ok, f*ck that’. And then they killed the whole sponsorships, everything.”
“They could’ve sent every fighter $10,000 checks as an employee (as a) thank you for where we are now,” Gegard Mousasi said. “$10,000 is nothing. They took the sponsorship, they put Reebok. I was making $6,000 with Reebok. (What) they were giving fighters, it wasn’t always the best. They could’ve done a better job. You don’t have to be that greedy.”
Mousasi maintains that he was thankful for the opportunity provided to him in the UFC, and how he was not speaking negatively of the promotion.
“I’m thankful to UFC, to be honest,” Gegard Mousasi said. “After Strikeforce… they bought Strikeforce, I went there, they gave me opportunity. I’m not bashing on them. I’m still thankful. I can understand profit goes (comes first). But my thing is more – treating your employees better, and then the business. But maybe I would go bankrupt (that way).”