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Morning Report: Sean O’Malley claims: ‘Reebok made over a million dollars on all my merch, and I got like $3,000’

Sean O’Malley Esther Lin, MMA Fighting

One of the biggest MMA stories in recent weeks has been the topic of fighter pay in the UFC. Jorge Masvidal was passed over for a title shot due to an impasse in fight negotiations, Jon Jones has seemingly decided to go to war with the UFC over his current pay structure, and Henry Cejudo retired from the sport because it wasn’t worth it financially to continue competing. But while the UFC’s pay structure has been catching the brunt of the backlash, let it not be forgotten that the original fighter pay issue - the UFC’s exclusive sponsorship with Reebok - has still not gone away.

In 2014, the UFC signed an exclusive sponsorship deal with Reebok, creating a uniformity in fighter wear for their events by removing outside sponsorship for fighters on their shirts, fight gear, and banners. For all but the biggest stars, this effectively killed fighter sponsorship dollars and was replaced by a tiered system of sponsorship from Reebok, paying fighters $3,500 for their first three UFC fights, $5,000 for fights 4-10, $10,000 for their 11th to 15th fights, $15,000 for 16 to 20, and $20,000 for 21 fights plus, with champions earning $40,000 per fight. Fighters are also compensated a percentage of merchandising sold but, according to the UFC’s newest star, that percentage is a far cry from fair.

Yesterday, Sean O’Malley went on Brendan Schaub’s Food Truck Diaries and took fire at the Reebok deal, saying he only received a small percentage of money he helped generate.

“I got royalties from Reebok,” O’Malley said. “If I read it right - which I think I did, and I even sent it to my dad like, ‘Did I read this right?’ and he said yes, so unless we both can’t read - Reebok made over a million dollars on all my merch, and I got like $3,000. I’m like, what the f*ck?

“It’s ridiculous. I thought I got 15%. And they’re like ‘Well, you get 15% of this, but of this, and then these guys get it, and then you get 15% of that.’ I’m like holy sh*t, you guys are f*cking me. Then, they make all these sweet shirts on Reebok and I’m like, damn. I tell people, ‘Don’t buy that!’”

O’Malley did not reveal exact figures for his claims, so his accusations cannot be verified. However, the Reebok deal has been a huge point of consternation for many fighters since it was announced and, just weeks after the Reebok partnership was announced, a class action lawsuit was filed against the organization. In the ensuing five years, the perception of the Reebok deal has been mixed, with some fighters enjoying the easy money and others decrying the lost earning potential in sponsorship. O’Malley clearly falls into the latter category and went on to reveal that he’s currently in talks with “a major company” for management with regard to merchandising and sponsorships.

“I’m actually talking to a huge, a really, really, really big agency about managing me, but not for fights,” O’Malley said. “Just for all that stuff. So hopefully that will get a figured out and then merch will come with that. I want to do it right.”

The UFC’s deal with Reebok is set to expire this year and the expectation at this point is that it will not be renewed. Instead, rumors abound that a new deal will be negotiated with Nike, Under Armour, and Venum emerging as the leading candidates.


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Submission Radio. Breaking down the key fight from ESPN on 12.





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Thanks for reading and see y’all tomorrow.



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