Nate Quarry Comments on Sponsor Bans

With the recent news of yet another sponsor ban by the UFC, Nate Quarry took to the UG to speak on the importance of sponsors in putting food on the table, so to speak:

I find it interesting that the comparison is always made between basketball players and football players saying that they aren’t allowed to pepper their jerseys with logos.
A pro football player plays where? The NFL.
A pro basketball player in the USA plays where? The NBA.
Where do pro fighters fight at? Any league that will have them as they strive to make it to the big show. Many pros fight for $500. Even once in one of the big shows, the money earned is not a living wage. Many have to work weekends bouncing and bartending.
Now what is the minimum wage for an NBA or NFL player?
The rookie minimum wage in the NBA last season was over $473,000.
Do they need the Gun Store logo on their shorts. Probably not. And let’s look at their expenses. They have an agent. To my knowledge, that’s about it unless they choose to have other trainers at their own cost.
An MMA fighter has an agent that he pays, a team he fights for that he trains at, that he pays, if he’s good and has the money he has a muay thai coach, a Jits coach, a strength and conditioning coach, a diet coach and someone to help him cut weight.
And if he just made it to the big shows he MAY make 30k for the year. Minus 20% for management and training at least then a third for taxes and you’re sitting at about 16k to live on for the entire year.
Sponsors have always been a huge source of income for fighters. I can’t tell you how many times a sponsor showed up at just the right time and gave me food money. Literally.
When I fought Pete Sell the second time I was sponsored by Toyo tires. For two fights I had their logo on my shorts. For what? A set of tires. That would be about $800. $400 for two fights on primetime that have been shown over and over. Why did I do it? Because I was driving around on my spare and one other tire was filled with fix a flat. The belts were showing on the other tires.
You want to see the best a fighter can be? Buy his gear. Support the brands that sponsor him and send the companies emails letting them know you’re buying their protein because they’re sponsoring someone.
What’s that you say? If you don’t like it then quit? I do like it. In fact, I love it. That’s why I lived in my buddies basement 2 nights a week to save on gas money. And I rode with other friends to practice to save on gas money. And I packed a lunch to practice. And I only wore clothes sponsors and other more successful fighters would give me. And I’d do it all over again.
If you got into fighting to be rich, you chose the wrong sport. Do it for the love and if you get rich that’s a nice bonus.
But having those sponsors can sure make the ride easier.
My two cents.

Lorenzo Fertitta mentions in his ESPN interview what a great platform the UFC provides for fighters in hopes of bringing in great sponsors, but muted are the various and sundry bans that the company has instituted, winnowing down the sponsor pool. Nothing was said, either, of the sponsorship taxes imposed on some brands to advertise on fighters in the Octagon. Both of these impediments only serve to make the recruitment of brands to sponsor fighters that much more difficult. While those on all sides of the fighter pay issue hail sponsorship as major factor in a fighter being able to make a living wage in the UFC, when bans such as these come down all too often they are seen as “cleaning up the sponsor riff raff.” Cleaning out such lower echelon sponsors is seen as some forerunner to those big brands that will beat a path to the fighter’s door, now that the Octagon has been unsullied. I don’t know about you, but me..I’m still waiting for these advertorial saviors to pop up.

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