Alexander Gustafsson is about two weeks away from challenging Daniel Cormier for the UFC light heavyweight championship at UFC 192 in Houston, TX.
But that isn’t stopping him from speaking out about his issues with the promotion.
In an interview published yesterday at MMA Junkie, Sweden’s Gustafsson, whose MMA record stands at 16-3, evinced frustration with fighter pay in general — and the UFC’s sponsorship deal with Reebok in particular.
Asked what he’d change if he were in charge of the UFC, Gustafsson (pictured above right) said simply: “Pay the fighters a lot more money.”
“For all the hard work and the sacrifices fighters generally do to fight, I think they’re a little bit underpaid,” he continued. “The same thing with the Reebok deal, too. I don’t have anything negative to say about it. I just think, why take away from fighters who haven’t established themselves in the organization? They have a hard time already, so why take away the small sponsors so they can pay the rent and pay their bills? Why take that away too? Really squeezing that last money from the fighters that haven’t been established yet. I think it’s sad to see.”
Gustafsson believes that support from local sponsors are key for fighters.
“The more support you can have from local sponsors, the more time you have to put in the gym and the more the sport will develop,” he said. “It’s just that this Reebok deal is not going to help the fighters.”