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Morning Report: Vitor Belfort compares the UFC-Reebok deal to ‘slavery’

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UFC middleweight Vitor Belfort says fighters are “pretty much living in slavery” as a result of the UFC’s sponsorship deal with Reebok.

Former UFC champion Vitor Belfort isn’t happy with the UFC sponsorship situation.

In late 2014 the UFC struck an exclusive apparel deal with Reebok which then went into effect last year. The deal has been met with significant criticism and the latest to add to that is Vitor Belfort. In an interview with Sportv, (transcribed and translated by Bloody Elbow) Belfort spoke out on the sponsorship deal and on his desire to leave a legacy of awareness to younger fighters:

“MMA is a lot closer to entertainment than sport these days. I’m not satisfied with the way the company is handling sponsorship. We are pretty much living in slavery. We can’t use our own sponsors, they are banned inside the Octagon. We have no properties.”

The Reebok deal is an exclusive apparel deal with the UFC meaning that none of the fighters in the organization are allowed to wear any non-Reebok sponsors during fights and weigh-ins. While by no means is it slavery, the deal is restrictive and does severely impede the ability of fighters to seek their own sponsors. The primary form of fighter advertising – banners and fight gear – are now no longer permitted to bear non-Reebok sponsors meaning other would-be sponsors aren’t inclined to support most fighters.

In exchange for losing these sponsors and the money that comes with them, Reebok and the UFC created a tiered system wherein fighters are payed sponsorship money from Reebok per fight depending on the number of fights that fighter has in the UFC. But many fighters claim that the money from the tiered system is significantly less than they could make were they allowed to seek out their ….View full article

Source:: mma fighting