The Venum era of the UFC starts now.
Although Dana White was adamant that Reebok was good for the UFC, the promotion has switched gears. It now has Venum providing all of the fight kits and gear for its fighters. Venum and the UFC will preview the new fight kits next week ahead of their debut on UFC Fight Night on April 10th.
Fighters have not been shy about airing their grievances with the UFC’s decision to partner with Reebok over the last seven years. Several fighters have been vocal about their disappointment with the compensation they received in fight-week incentive pay. While fighters will still be unable to promote their sponsors during fight week, they will see an increase in wage under the new Venum deal.
During an interview with ESPN, UFC senior executive vice president and chief operating officer Lawrence Epstein provided details of the new pay structure for athletes. He stressed that while the increase is incremental, the Venom deal’s design benefits the fighters more than the organization. “This is not a profit center for us,” Epstein stated. “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.”
The new tiers will see the most significant increases (by percentage) for newer fighters of the promotion:
|Number of |
|Reebok Compensation (Current)||Venum Compensation |
Additionally, one significant change will come with the new deal. Fighters will now be required to submit their mouthpieces for inspection a week before their fight. Under the new policy, “Mouthguards may not have any commercially identifiable logos or trademarks other than UFC logos and trademarks; however, athletes’ names, their children’s names, spouse’s name, athletes’ nicknames, country flags, or those approved by UFC and documented in the system and other Unbranded designs may be permitted if approved by UFC.”
Reebok will remain a UFC partner, providing footwear for the athletes for the foreseeable future.
Are you excited about the new Venum fight kits?