Fight Chix has been around since 2006. We have supported female fighters from day one through promotion, signature shirts, gear, monetary sponsorships and any other way we could. We have been called the TapouT of women’s MMA due to blazing the trail with these women who shared our love for the sport. We have sponsored some of the biggest names in the sport on their way to the top and have always put the fighters first. Always.
Fight Chix has been at every UFC Fan Expo, other than last year, and that was due in part to my (Jake) mother recently losing her battle with cancer. Fight Chix went to Vegas, Houston, Toronto, Boston and back to Vegas. We loved the chance to connect with our MMA family! We set up after parties, prefight parties, and fashion shows. We had signings at our booth with Miesha Tate, Cat Zingano, Nate Quarry, and we would be visited by the who’s who in the industry. Even Jon Jones came to our booth in Houston to get some gear for his daughters!
A few weeks ago Elisabeth received the standard email from the UFC Fan Expo to message back and reserve you booth space today. Naturally she replied for more information. We got no response after several emails, so we contacted our friend Brian, who used to work on the UFC Fan Expo but was recently promoted. He did an email intro to the new person in charge, who then asked Elisabeth to tell him a little bit about our company. Elisabeth let the UFC Fan Expo rep know we were a lifestyle apparel line that focused on female MMA and that we are also a distributor for Onnit products. This following image is from the Fight Chix twitter account, and is a screen shot of the response.
So it appears that Reebok will be the only apparel brand for purchase at the UFC Fan Expo and Muscle Pharm will be the only supplement company represented at the UFC Fan Expo. I guess its safe to say that Bud Light, Monster, and Harley Davidson might also have booths since they are all official sponsors of the UFC. Then you can expect UFC athletes and ring girls signing autographs.
Who does this benefit?
In past expos, the UFC athlete and even the ring girls could go from booth to booth that they were sponsored by, for 2-3 hours time slots, getting paid at each booth. The sponsors got attention from the athlete and the athlete could hit 3-6 booths over the weekend and probably make several thousand dollars. With over 500 athletes on the UFC roster and over 150 vendors at previous expos, it was a great event where fans got to see and purchase a variety of products and athletes got to interact, while making some money. Then after the expo there were after parties at different clubs hosted by different brands and these brands would bring in different athletes for yet another appearance fee. Fight Chix often had signings at the LV Fight Shop and other off site locations as well as parties and fashion shows. These post UFC Fan Expo events gave a boost to other businesses in the area as well as promoted the UFC and made money for their athletes.
The new UFC Fan Expo will no doubt be a shell of what it once was. UFC Athletes will sign for the UFC as a favor, because they are told it isn’t a requirement. But lets remember who is asking for this favor…the same company that can make sure you stay on FightPass prelims for the rest of your career. So what choice does the athlete really have?
But the Reebok Deal is good for the sport!
The Reebok numbers are out, and who is hurting the worst from this deal? Some might say a lot of the top 10 fighters will suffer the most. They may go from 50-100K per fight in sponsorship money to 4-10K. Yes that is a huge hit over the course of a year. No one is talking about the women in the UFC. Yes, Ronda Rousey is an uber talented triple threat. She is to the point where she could walk away from the UFC tomorrow as the greatest ever to compete, and walk right onto a movie set or the WWE ring. She doesn’t need the UFC. The rest of the women? People like Felice Herrig, who are experts at self promotion, but under the new Reebok deal she will make $2,500 per fight. Sara McMann who is an Olympic silver medalist and fought for a world title in the UFC, also will make only $2,500. I’m willing to bet both made MUCH more in sponsorship while fighting for Invicta Fighting Championship. Invicta has partnered with UFC Fight Pass to air all their live events. Fight Chix has sponsored many of the fighters on all of their cards. If Fight Chix had a booth, you can bet that Invicta Fighters would be signing at the Fight Chix booth, but now even those fighters lose out. The comparisons to other major leagues like the NFL and NBA are laughable at best. Even the comparison Chael Sonnen made about TV shows not allowing actors to wear sponsored items. Its all true, but not an apple to apples comparison. NFL players have a players union that makes sure when deals like the Reebok deal go down, they players are represented in the negotiations. Lebron James wears Nike shoes in his NBA games, while wearing an Adidas uniform. Actors have SAG looking out for their best interest, and EVERY employee in the NFL, NBA, NHL and MLB makes a livable salary. You want to compare to the NFL? Each year the NFL minimum salaries increase by $15,000, up to $435k for a rookie in 2015. That is $435,000 as a MINIMUM salary for an NFL Rookie. So you tell me, is the UFC anything close to the NFL or any other pro league? The answer is no. but the UFC likes to tell people they are, so they can reap all the benefits that a major sports league gets, even if it hurts the most important asset they have, the fighters.