Francis Ngannou is not happy with UFC’s choice of sponsors. And especially with Crypto.com partnership.
According to the Heavyweight champion, the UFC’s deal with the cryptocurrency website cost him at least $1 million dollars.
In a talk with Youtuber True Geordie, Ngannou commented on the subject.
“This is a fighter’s source of revenue, which has been taken from them by a promotion,” Ngannou told True Geordie. “It’s not like they are not putting anything there. They’re putting something [on] fighter gear, but it has to be from the promotion.”
“So unless it’s from the promotion, they cannot put anything. Fighters cannot. So technically, you have nothing left.”
The Cameroonian then revealed that he was forced to turn down a very lucrative offer from Coinbase (another cryptocurrency exchange platform), due to the UFC’s partnership with Crypto.com.
“Like recently, they signed a huge deal with Crypto.com. That was a good deal for them. What [is there] for fighters? Nothing, right? But guess what? That deal [took] money out of my pocket, at least one million. We have a competitive offer from Coinbase. And then when the Crypto.com announcement came out, I’m like, ‘Listen, guy, we can’t do this.’ What did I get from that Crypto deal? Nothing.”
The UFC and Crypto.com made the largest deal in the promotion’s history. The fighting promotion signed a 10-year sponsorship deal for about $175 million dollars.
“Crypto.com” sponsorship includes branding on athlete’s walk out gear, fight bonuses, and promotion of digital collectibles (aka “NFTs”), among several other things.
Ngannou was remarkably salty about the deal – if you go back and check out the promotional materials for UFC 270 – Ngannou can be seen sporting his personal sponsor Gymshark during the promo – and he walks out with his hoodie completely zipped up – and after his performance he goes on to stay shirtless during the belt ceremony.
Despite the sponsorship being targeted at the fighters, the UFC will be making about 20 times more than the overall sponsorship money given to fighters.
That means that while the UFC stands to make make 17.5 million dollars a year from the partnership, fighters will be receiving a combined, $720k.
To make matters even more questionable, the money given to the athletes will be paid in cryptocurrency, and not in US dollars, which means that the instability of the crypto market could significantly impact the amount the athletes end up cashing out.