Something weird is going on.
Ever since the UFC changed owners, fighters have been asking to be released from their contracts, declaring their contracts null and void, demanding to be paid more… all sorts of stuff that never flew in the old regime. And now former champ Fabricio Werdum is contributing to the melee, with some sort of protest of his Reebok overlords on social media.
First he posted this to Instagram:
As per MMAFighting, he went on to Facebook and explained what was going on.
“I was protesting,” Werdum said. “Actually, I’m not forced to use Reebok. I don’t have a contract with them. For people that don’t know, Reebok sponsors, well, sponsors, only during the fight and in the fight week you have to wear it [Reebok gear], it’s in the contract. In reality, I don’t have a deal with them to post outside the UFC. I can post whatever I want, if I want to post Kings MMA, I’ll post. If I want to post Nike or any other company or the sponsors I have, anything, so I’m not obligated. For people saying I’d get in trouble, there will be no trouble. It was just a protest, something that before we could show any sponsor we wanted. We used to get real good money, it was a lot different from Reebok. Today, with Reebok there is a pay scale, if you have a certain number of fights you get $5.000, $8.000. Of course it’s good money, but nothing like it was before, so of course it was a protest.”
Werdum went on to give a message to his fellow fighters. He told them to speak up and to not give free publicity to companies that don’t pay them for sponsorship, as their image outside the cage also holds value.
“I think fighters need to start speaking because no one is happy,” Werdum said. “It’s something that is in our contract, we have to sign it and end of story. We don’t have options. It was nice because it [the photo] was featured even in Globo.com. People talking, ‘Werdum signed with Nike’, no, but if Nike is interested, we’re here.
“So just to clarify, the people thinking I will get in trouble, nothing will happen. I even tell the fighters, if some company won’t sponsor you, you have to cover up their names, gloves, shin guards, don’t make free promotion. That’s our job, our image, our fights. Just because someone sends you some gloves you don’t need to keep making several posts with them. That’s not how it works, you have to value your image.”