Vitor Belfort doesn’t like the Reebok deal. We’ve known this for a good, long time but the Brazilian MMA legend has been getting more and more agitated by the day. On Monday, though, he upped the ante by pulling a card out of Tito Ortiz’s deck, likening the Reebok deal to slavery.
Here’s the quote:
“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 good thing about breaking records is when you’re not worried about it. When you are, it becomes frustrating. My happiness comes from within. Breaking records is what I do best. I hope I can leave a legacy which fighters can use to raise awareness about a minimum wage pay. It’s a contact sport. I don’t think it’s fair for someone to earn 500 dollars to be elbowed in the face. There has to be a retirement plan, which does not exist now. That’s something for the next generation. They need to save their money and invest. They need to know the athlete life will end.” – Vitor Belfort
Obviously, fighting in the UFC is not akin to slavery. Fighting in the UFC is a job where you don’t make any money, can’t leave, and have to sign over the rights to your likeness forever. Hmm, on second thought….
Really, though, few fighters have been hit by the Reebok deal harder than Belfort (and many other prominent Brazilian fighters). Belfort’s wife (who is also his manager) has previously stated that the Reebok deal, which pays him just $15,000 per fight, represents a seven-figure loss per year.
That sentiment has been echoed by a number of Brazilian fighters, and many American fighters as well.
It’s hard not to expect Belfort to join fighters like Ben Henderson and Josh Thomson in fighting out his contract and possibly making his way to either Bellator or Rizin FF. Unfortunately, he’s far more likely to enact change by simply sitting out and mouthing off in the media, so it’s kind of a missed opportunity on his part.
Page 1 of 1: