Now that Gegard Mousasi is officially a Bellator fighter, he is free to say anything and everything that is on his mind about his former employer. And one of his many gripes with the UFC was the Reebok deal that he felt was only there to drive the selling price of the company up to $4 billion while “screwing” a lot of people out of money along the way.
“I can now say that it was a very [expletive] deal because I’m no longer with the UFC and Reebok should be ashamed,” Mousasi told Yahoo Sports. “They weren’t there to help the fighters, they were only there to help sell the UFC for $4 billion dollars.”
The Dutch fighter became increasingly vocal over the past couple of years and panned everything from his pay to his opportunities — both of which have been rectified with his Bellator deal. But the Reebok deal is something that certainly left a bitter taste in Mousasi’s mouth.
“The Reebok deal killed a lot of companies who used to sponsor fighters,” Mousasi said. He explained that although he will now have the freedom to secure sponsorship under the Bellator banner, many of the companies have since gone under thanks to the deal that barred them from being seen during UFC events. “That deal screwed a lot of people and nobody was happy with it. Not the UFC or the fighters. I don’t even think Reebok is happy with the deal. They stole a lot of money out of the pockets of fighters.”
Mousasi also explained his displeasure with how he was compensated. Aside from the Reebok deal affecting his pay, Mousasi said that he was sick of “gambling” with his career.
“The thing with the UFC is that you become champion first and then you get paid,” Mousasi said while stating that Bellator’s financial terms were better than what the UFC put on the table. “I’m already one of the best fighters who is in their prime. Why should I be gambling my future? If I don’t become champion, I don’t deserve good money? NBA players get paid regardless of whether or not they win a championship. They don’t cut your check in half. You get a bonus for being champion but that doesn’t affect your overall pay. They get paid for what they have already done.”
In addition to the pay, Mousasi also said that the opportunities were far better than what the UFC offered. The 31-year-old was unhappy with the fact that Robert Whittaker was offered the opportunity to compete for the interim UFC middleweight title at UFC 213 despite Mousasi being on five-fight winning streak and holding a victory over former champion Chris Weidman. It’s something that he believes will not be an issue with Bellator.
“I will get those opportunities with Bellator,” he said while citing that he anticipates that his Bellator debut will be in September or October. And those opportunities include everything from a superfight to the possibility of holding titles in multiple weight classes.
“The UFC was interested in making Michael Bisping against Georges St-Pierre but I think me against Rory MacDonald is an even better fight because we are both in our primes. When I win the middleweight title, maybe there can be a superfight with us or I can fight for the light heavyweight title. I’m willing to go all the way up to heavyweight.”