“It’s Nice When You Can Choose Your Clothes”-Cris Cyborg

Published 04/04/2020, 3:44 PM EDT

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The Brazilian Featherweight Cris Cyborg(22-2-0) recently made the move to Bellator and it seems like she will be continuing her win streak in her new promotion. Cyborg can now add a featherweight title to her trophy cabinet, for Bellator is fresh territory that she has conquered. In a recent interview with James Lynch, Cyborg talks about her issues with the UFC and the sponsorship model.

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“It’s stressful. It’s not good. Then I started fighting for (Bellator), and now I love, and I’m excited here. I’m happy, and I don’t have stress. I just train and do my best, that’s it.”- Cris Cyborg on her time in the UFC

Her 4 year-long stint at the UFC came to an end when she signed for Bellator. The promotion saw her take on Julia Budd in January at Bellator 238 in Los Angeles. The pair were headlining the event and Cyborg came away with the win crowning her the new Women’s featherweight champion.

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“It is nice when you can choose your clothes. You can support the sponsors who have been with you for a long time. You can give back for that, shootouts. And when you see different clothes you can see the personality of the fighters. Not just like robots. What they like to use, what uniform, who they want to thank. I think it’s nice.”- Cris Cyborg

The newly-minted featherweight champion claims that most sponsors that she had throughout her career cheer for her now that she can represent them in the cage. She feels she can do more for her sponsors than when she was under the promotional banner of the UFC.

Cris Cyborg is Not the Only One Dissatisfied With the Prevalent Promotional Model

Reebok holds an exclusive apparel deal with the UFC. Therefore, the fighters cannot be sponsored by non-Reebok entities during fights, fight week, and weigh-ins. This means they cannot be seen sporting apparel or equipment with the names of any other brands on their person or otherwise.

The deal between Reebok and UFC is in the form of a tiered system. The fighters are paid sponsorship money according to the number of fights the fighter has participated in, in the UFC. Rankings do not hold any meaning when it comes to sponsorship money.

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Fighters with 1-5 bouts under their belt receive $2,500, those with 6-10 receive $5,000, so on and so forth. Champions receive $40,000 and the challengers receive $30,000. Many fighters and even Joe Rogan are rather critical of this deal.

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Fighters claim that their earnings have taken a serious hit compared to when they were allowed their own sponsors. And rightly so. For marketing machines like Rhonda Rousey and Conor McGregor earn millions but it is the mid-tier fighter that really suffers.

This deal creates a disincentive for the fighters to continue fighting in the UFC instead of moving on to other promotions. Even if the UFC houses some of the greatest and most talented fighters and put up great shows.

An average fighter participates in fights maybe twice or thrice in a year. This means that they would have to go through nearly 4-5 years of broken noses and jaws to be compensated decently. So they are left with the option of starting early on, for the pay only increases if you keep winning on a consistent basis.

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This does not seem very attractive considering the amount of money that is spent on organizing training camps, diets, trainer fee and more.

What’s your take on this issue?

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Written by:

Vinayak

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