Why UFC 188 co-headliner Gilbert Melendez is the latest to question Reebok deal

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Why UFC 188 co-headliner Gilbert Melendez is the latest to question Reebok deal

Post by Hamilcar on Mon Jun 01, 2015 7:42 pm

Why UFC 188 co-headliner Gilbert Melendez is the latest to question Reebok deal

Gilbert Melendez has fought professionally since 2002 and was one of the most well-paid lightweights outside the UFC in the late 2000s and early this decade.

When Melendez signed with the UFC for a shot at the title then owned by Benson Henderson, his experience and popularity allowed him to earn a salary far higher than most newcomers. And when his contract expired, he and his team expertly played the open market, flirting with Bellator MMA to secure an even better deal with the industry-leader.

Melendez (22-4 MMA, 1-2 UFC), who next fights Eddie Alvarez (25-4 MMA, 0-1 UFC) on June 13 as part of UFC 188’s pay-per-view main card in Mexico City, still makes good money to show up and fight despite losses in title bouts against Henderson and, most recently, Anthony Pettis. For his fight against Pettis, he earned a disclosed payday of $200,000.

But Melendez is the latest high-profile fighter to speak up on the ancillary income he’ll lose as the result of the UFC’s apparel deal with Reebok.

Despite all his years of experience, including stints in PRIDE and Strikeforce, Melendez is on the lowest tier of compensation for the promotion’s apparel deal and will make $5,000 per UFC fight.

“(UFC President Dana White and UFC Chairman and CEO Lorenzo Fertitta), they’ve done a lot for this sport, and they’re smart men,” Melendez told MMAjunkie Radio, “so I have faith that they have an ultimate big game plan, and hopefully, this is better for the sport and yada yada yada – all that stuff.

“But with that said, it has the potential to hurt my pocketbook for sure.”

Melendez said some companies have sponsored him since he first started fighting. One, a body shop based in Santa Ana, Calif., paid for his rent while he was going to school in San Francisco and training to become a fighter.

“I lived off my sponsorship money every day as an up-and-coming fighter,” he said. “Just my food, my rent – just so I didn’t have to work as hard and I could focus on fighting.”

Over the years, he said he’s forged personal relationships with his sponsors and credits them for keeping his career afloat.

“These people have watched me grow to see where I’m at, and I love to represent them in there,” he said. “It was a way to make it in this sport. I don’t think, without sponsors, I’d be where I’m at today. I would have had to throw in the towel and get a real job, and I think some fighters are going to have to do that.”

Melendez, of course, will not need a second job. But he expressed concern for up-and-coming fighters whose potential income will be slashed when they’re not allowed to acquire outside sponsorships for UFC fights.

Melendez’s shorts might look a lot different for his next bout, but when he steps into he cage against Alvarez, a former Bellator champ, he’ll proudly wear the auto body shop’s patch on his fight shorts. It’s a symbol of where he started and how far he’s come over 13 years as a professional.

In the meantime, he’s wondering whether the UFC’s alignment with Reebok will eventually pay off.

“I’m trying to have faith here, and hopefully there’s a big picture here,” Melendez said.
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Re: Why UFC 188 co-headliner Gilbert Melendez is the latest to question Reebok deal

Post by TeamJohnPerretti on Mon Jun 01, 2015 9:41 pm

UFC is a trashy company.

Every day I am happy with my decision to not watch their shows or support them in any way.
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Re: Why UFC 188 co-headliner Gilbert Melendez is the latest to question Reebok deal

Post by Heretic on Tue Jun 02, 2015 6:08 am

Gilbert going to Bellator would be a huge blow to Zuffa
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Re: Why UFC 188 co-headliner Gilbert Melendez is the latest to question Reebok deal

Post by stu3ufc on Tue Jun 02, 2015 6:27 am

Heretic wrote:Gilbert going to Bellator would be a huge blow to Zuffa

hahahaha he must regret not taking that Bellator contract now!! Rolling LMAO

LMAO at all these fighters waking up to the fact that zuffa want you to fight for cheap

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Re: Why UFC 188 co-headliner Gilbert Melendez is the latest to question Reebok deal

Post by CDF47 on Tue Jun 02, 2015 4:32 pm

Add another fighter to the pissed off about Reebok deal. There should be a list of these fighters who think this deal is horse shit.

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Re: Why UFC 188 co-headliner Gilbert Melendez is the latest to question Reebok deal

Post by InfinityLens on Fri Jun 12, 2015 11:20 pm

I am sure there is one, it's probably in the offices of Coker, Cui, and others.
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Re: Why UFC 188 co-headliner Gilbert Melendez is the latest to question Reebok deal

Post by stu3ufc on Sat Jun 13, 2015 4:59 am

lol at fighters publicly just lying down and just accepting this deal when in private im sure faber and eddie are pissed off.

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Re: Why UFC 188 co-headliner Gilbert Melendez is the latest to question Reebok deal

Post by CDF47 on Sat Jun 13, 2015 10:29 am

stu3ufc wrote:lol at fighters publicly just lying down and just accepting this deal when in private im sure faber and eddie are pissed off.

That's almost definitely got to be the case.

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