First came the tweets expressing dissatisfaction. Now come the real repercussions. When the UFC announced the numbers on their Reebok sponsorship deal, and just how much the fighters would be losing in dough, many arms were thrown up in the air in dismay. But two news items today show some real impact that has resulted from the deal.
The first is the signing by Bellator of top wrestler Ed Ruth. As per MMAFighting, Ruth is the epitome of blue chip prospect, and his inevitable transition to MMA competition is going to involve a lot of Bellator and not a lot of UFC. One of the reasons for that, says Ruth:
“I’ve been talking with all the major organizations, and at the end of the day, I really believe in what Scott Coker is doing with Bellator. They’re signing the top talent, they’re putting on exciting fights, and they’re letting me secure my own sponsors.“
(Emphasis added is mine.)
Then there’s interview with Scott Coker, courtesy of veteran scribe Luke Thomas. As per Coker:
I think they’re going to have a situation on their hands that they’re going to have to deal with.
I will tell you this, the phone’s been ringing. I just tell people, ‘Listen. We’re not going to engage in any kind of dialogue with you on any level unless you’re a free agent. When you’re free, give me a call.’
Yeah, so, Reebok sponsor deal. Problem. Major problem.