The UFC-Reebok deal went into affect in the summer of 2015, and it basically prohibits fighters from representing their own sponsors inside the Octagon, which used to be a major source of income for them. Now, fighters must wear Reebok attire and receive a sponsorship payment based on a tier system.
It’s no secret the response to the new system has been mixed to say the least. While some fighters are fans of the new attire, the income is significantly less than if a combatant was allowed to sport his own sponsors, and there have been many complaints because of this.
In fact, several big-name fighters, like former lightweight champion Benson Henderson and top welterweight Rory MacDonald, have defected for distant rival Bellator MMA, and the Reebok deal was one of the largest reasons they cited for the move.
Heading into a promotion where ‘employees’ are unhappy and a potential fighters’ union could possibly spoil an extremely lucrative deal likely isn’t a positive for the new owners.