A full breakdown of Dwayne Johnson, Project Rock's shoe deal with the UFC

A full breakdown of Dwayne Johnson, Project Rock’s shoe deal with the UFC

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In January 2022, The Rock and the UFC struck a sponsorship agreement which would see fighters wearing “Project Rock” shoes. Recently, Dwayne Johnson posted a video which saw fighters such as Francis Ngannou, Colby Covington and Jorge Masvidal praising the shoe company for making comfortable shoes.

Not only that, but fighters also enjoyed that The Rock chose to get directly involved in the sport. So things are looking bright for all parties, aren’t they? According to a recent report, this may not be the case. Renowned combat sports journalist John S. Nash tweeted that the fighters are not benefiting from the deal!

(Pictures via Instagram)

He posted a tweet stating that the company apparently requires fighters to do interviews with The Rock’s Seven Bucks Productions. This may explain why almost all of the greatest UFC fighters have appeared in the brand’s promotional video.

Erik Magraken, a combat sports lawyer, also gave his opinion on the matter. He pointed out that the financial details were deliberately omitted because the fighters aren’t making any money from the deal, while the UFC is making a load of it.

How much money do UFC fighters make from sponsorship deals?

For a very long time, MMA was not considered a mainstream sport. Due to the violence involved, major corporations have been reluctant to sponsor fighters and associate their name with the sport. However, the UFC changed that in 2014 by signing a $70 million deal with Reebok that lasted from 2015 to 2021.

UFC fighters posing in Reebok gear
(Pictures via Twitter)

But the deal only benefited the company. Not only did they earn an insane amount of money from Reebok, but the deal also boosted merchandise sales. The deal has certainly allowed the company to give its brand a more professional outlook. But fighters were no longer allowed to bring their own sponsors into the Octagon. This caused the fighters to lose a lot of side income.

In some cases, fighters missed out on six-figure sponsorship money. Instead, they had to settle for a fixed amount that Reebok structured. The salary varied according to the levels to which the fighters belonged. According to a report by Launderer’s reportfighters who had between 1 and 5 UFC fights, received $2,500.

Fighters with 6-10 and 11-15 UFC fights received $5,000 and $10,000, respectively. But the pay got better for competitors who had 16-20 fights in the UFC, as they received $15,000. But fighters with 21+ UFC fights pocketed $20,000. Title challengers earned $30,000 per fight while title holders received $40,000.

UFC fighters posing in Venum kits
(Images via UFC)

After the deal was completed, the UFC replaced Reebok with Venum. According MMA fight book, title champions and challengers earn $42,000 and $32,000 per fight, respectively. Fighters with 21 or more fights receive $21,000. The next tier is for fighters who have 16-20 UFC fights earning $16,000.

$11,000 is allocated to fighters who have had 11-15 fights in the UFC. Fighters earn $6,000 and $4,500 who have 6-10 fights and 4-5 UFC fights respectively. The lowest payout tier is for fighters who only have 1-3 fights in the UFC. They receive $4,000 per fight. But there is no report on how much money the fighters earn from Project Rock sponsorship.

Dustin Poirier in a Crypto.com sponsored UFC fight kit
(Pictures via Twitter)

Internet currency company Crypto.com is the kit sponsor for the UFC and they signed a deal worth $175 million with the UFC for 10 years in 2021. But they pay a certain percentage to fighters in the form of a post-fight bonus based on fan votes. . According to a report by Yahoo financebonuses range from bitcoins worth $30,000, $20,000 and $10,000.

UFC heavyweight champion Francis Ngannou has been the most vocal fighter in the business when it comes to fighter pay. He previously said the UFC is holding his fighters “in captivity” although they are independent contractors. Even Luke Rockhold recently said that the company didn’t take care of him when he needed it most.

Famous boxer Jake Paul used the disgruntled nature of the fighters to target the promotion and Dana White. One of the biggest stars in the UFC, Nate Diaz also spoke about the treatment he received from the promotion over the years. So overall, the biggest MMA promotion in the world has received a lot of flak for its dealings with fighters.

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