Chris Camozzi made some headlines pre-UFC 158 with a blog post which outlined a pattern of low offers made by sponsors. Camozzi called out the fighters and managers that take low offers which lower the standard for everyone.
Camozzi wrote that despite UFC 158 being a big card it did not mean a windfall when it comes to sponsorship. His blog post, found on his web page, did not request the UFC do something about the lowball sponsors offers or the sponsors to cease its tactics but the fighters to turn down such low offers. As an example, he cited that a couple years ago a walkout shirt could make $10K if a fighter appeared on the main card of a PPV. He stated that for UFC 158 he was offered $3K.
In the same post, Camozzi indicated that he is against a union as that is a “lazy” way for allowing another to set a baseline. He called for up and coming fighters not to take low offers from sponsors. He states that he turned down more money at UFC 158 to make the point. He also reminded fighters that the sponsors paid between 5 and 7 figures for “permission” from the UFC to have ads displayed on fighters and its the sponsors that need the fighters not the other way around.
Camozzi’s post is interesting as he’s requesting other fighters to “leave money on the table” in order to take a stand. This sounds good but for the present conditions in the UFC, it’s a hard proposition to follow. In a crowded fighter roster, one loss could spell the end of your UFC career. From an up and coming fighter’s perspective, if you do not capitalize now, you may never have that chance. If you are a manager, one would hope you are trying to get as many sponsors as you can for your fighter. But, if you are on the prelims, one can imagine it being harder to find sponsors. So, if posed with an offer that is less, do you take it or turn it down waiting for a better offer? An offer that may never come.
Camozzi does make a point. At times, the UFC will be making more money from its sponsor fee than the fighters will from the sponsors. Sponsors need fighters to advertise their brand and fighters should be compensated accordingly.
One of the problems is that UFC production has cut walkouts which curbs the amount of time a walkout shirt is seen on television. On FX, Fuel and Fox shows, some fights are cut to where the fight banner is barely seen and the fighter doesn’t have his shirt on. From this perspective, the amount of time seen by a viewing audience has gone down.