UFC vet Cole Miller has been talking up the darker side of MMA sponsorships recently.
Miller reveals that despite MMA’s continued surge in popularity, sponsorships are getting harder to come by for the average UFC athlete. He states that early in his career, he was able to count on $4000 to $5000 in sponsor money for a “dark” fight on the un-televised prelims.
He added that he peaked at around $23,500 a fight in 2010. Now though, on the cusp of his 15th UFC appearance, he said he’d be lucky to bring in $3,500.
“It seems like everything has dried up, and the companies only want to commit to a smaller roster for their company,” Miller said in an interview with MMAjunkie.com. “There are these companies that just straight up won’t call back right after they hear that I’m on Facebook.”
Miller said that for his past few fights, some companies have offered to pay him in gear instead of cash, sometimes valued as low as $100. More recently, he’s even been approached about representing a company for free.
“The MMA industry must be hurting,” he said on twitter. “Past few fights I’ve been getting ‘offers’ to rep companies for free. Tell me others aren’t agreeing to this.”
“It’s frustrating for me,” Miller said. “It’s not like I’m taking the sponsor money and buying bottles in Miami. I’m trying to train with Marcello Garcia at least once a year. I’m trying to pay my boxing coach. I’m trying to give my trainers at American Top Team a little extra. I’m trying to do better for myself.”
“I enjoy the fighting,” he added. “I enjoy the training. But all the stuff that goes along with it is getting annoying, and I can honestly say that I’m looking forward to a normal kind of lifestyle.”
Miller is currently 8-6 in the UFC, and 19-8 overall. He’ll be facing Andy Ogle next at UFC Fight Night 30.