Famed trainer Greg Jackson says “it’s not about the coaches.” | Photo: Arnold Lim/Sherdog.com
On Tuesday, the UFC announced that its long-rumored fighter uniform policy deal with Reebok will officially take effect during International Fight Week on July 6, 2015.
When that happens, fighters will only be allowed to wear Reebok-branded apparel during UFC-affiliated events. While all athletes in compliance with the new “Outfitting Policy” will be compensated on a tiered pay system based on ranking, the coaches and trainers who accompany them to the cage will not.
According to UFC.com, “corners will also be provided fight week and fight night gear and will be required to comply with the outfitting policy.”
While not many trainers have lucrative -- or any -- deals with sponsors, the ones who do could be facing a significant loss of income. Greg Jackson, who corners a number of notable UFC stars including UFC light heavyweight champion Jon Jones, ex-interim welterweight titlist Carlos Condit, flyweight contender John Dodson and heavyweight Alistair Overeem, says he will usually represents about four sponsors at any given time.
Jackson wants to make it clear, however, that the welfare of the fighters is far more important than any extra revenue he might forfeit down the line.
“Definitely it’s not good for the coaches, but it’s not about the coaches. It’s about the fighters at the end of the day,” Jackson told Sherdog.com. “The coaches are here for support. Myself and some of the other ones that have been sponsored, I’m sure we’re gonna lose that unless they want to stick with us outside the events.”
Of course, until exact figures are released, it is unclear how much the six-year Reebok contract will benefit fighters under UFC contract. Jackson, like most everyone else, is taking a wait-and-see approach.
“I’m not sure how this deal is gonna work out. I don’t know,” he said. “The UFC is saying one thing, and certainly they know business. Their sponsorship taxes and the way they restrict that stuff restricted a lot of sponsors, so maybe this will be a good thing. Maybe it will be a bad thing. I honestly don’t know.”
What Jackson does know is that, no matter how high profile some might be, people aren’t paying to see coaches and trainers in action. That’s why he can make peace with the potential consequences of the Reebok deal.
“There’s only five or 10 of us that get sponsored. There’s how many fighters in the UFC? That, I think, is a much bigger deal,” he said. “Yeah for me [losing sponsors] is a big deal. I’m gonna lose a lot of money, but it’s not about me.
“As much I would love to be self-centered and think the world revolves around me, it doesn’t. If I quit MMA tomorrow, literally nobody would care. The fighters matter. They’re the ones seriously putting their ass on the line. As long as it’s good for them, I will be good with it.”