Last week, it was said that Rory MacDonald, a UFC veteran, would be looking to strike a deal with UFC competitor Bellator MMA if the mixed martial arts giant couldn’t put up the money to retain him. MacDonald, 26, is one of many UFC fighters to transfer or consider transferring to Bellator since the UFC became partners with Reebok in a $70 million dollar deal, making the clothing giant the sole outfitter of the organizations uniforms. The deal leaving many fighters without sponsorships and the money that comes with them due to the now monopolized ad space such as their shorts and T- shirts that once made them money.
Brendan Schaub, a UFC heavy weight went to Twitter after the deal stating, “I’ve made six figures in my last 6 fights”. With the new deal, a fighter with a non-champion status would receive just $10,000 on top of the money the UFC shells out.
With young fighters like MacDonald looking to other organizations when their contracts run up, it’s tough to avoid speculating how long it takes before the UFC loses more young fighters? Before Bellator starts getting first pick of new talent? These questions are important because with big name fighters going to UFC competitors it creates the same clunky multi-organization situation for mix martial arts that boxing struggles with today. The reason mixed martial arts is able to crush boxing to the point of irrelevance is the fact that the UFC is king. And when you win in the UFC and hold the belt, you are the world champion. There aren’t other fighters in other equal organizations with a world champion in your weight class that you will never fight, you are it, but if things change we could see this system in MMA.
The deal has about 4 or 5 years on it before the UFC can make the right choice. The real trick will be seeing how they deal with the damage they caused and keep their losses to a minimum. Let’s hope all goes well.