Reebok responds to UFC criticism

Reebok has responded to the controversy over the compensation for fighters now that outside sponsorship is no longer allowed.

Under the new exclusive sponsorship deal with Reebok, fighters are paid according to a tiered structure based on tenure, leaving many fighters earning substantially less than they were before.

Fighters such as Brendan Schaub and Tim Kennedy have been vocal in their criticism of the move, saying that it is no longer feasible for them to compete under the new sponsorship structure.

Asked to respond to the criticism at a recent press event, Reebok exec Michael Lunardelli said: "You can't make everybody happy. Some people are going to criticize the deal. They may feel that they lost some sponsorships as part of this apparel deal. The way we look at it is, we're not deciding where the money goes.

"We're investing into all these different things that relate to MMA and the sport, so we've put a lot of money into the UFC deal, we've put a lot of money into fighters, we've put a lot of money into gyms and trainers and coaches, things like that. But then there comes a decision point, and the UFC decides how the fighters are paid. That's not something we get involved in at all.

"So I can understand that he's looking at us and blaming us because it's a Reebok apparel deal. It's a little misplaced from my standpoint. But at the same time, we have to do what we have to do, and that's focus on making great gear, supporting fighters, getting fighters to showcase as the face of our brand. If we do those things really well, then things will come around."

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