The UFC has taken a lot of heat from many members of the MMA community, including myself, for Zuffa requiring fighters to sign away the rights to their likeness per the standard UFC contract. With the announcements of major merchandising and licensing deals for the UFC with JAKKS Pacific, Bic, Silver Buffalo and JC Penney, there have been questions of whether or not the fighters will receive a portion of the revenues when their likeness is used, such as the action-figures.
Those questions have now been answered by Dana White and the UFC.
Already, close to 80 current UFC fighters have signed on for these licensing deals, with more coming on board every day. And while favorable royalty percentages and the ability to make money even when retired from the sport are nice, what has put smiles on the faces of these athletes is that the UFC licensing deals are non-exclusive, still freeing the fighters up to do whatever they choose in terms of other non-exclusive deals.
“Our deal is non-exclusive,” said White. “These guys can do any other non-exclusive deal they want as long as they don’t use the Zuffa name. If they want to market their image and do that themselves, they can. We’re not trying to take money out of their pockets; we’re trying to put it in their pocket in perpetuity. And on top of that we’re trying to enhance their Octagon image with the UFC to the world.”
I have to say I am pleasantly surprised. “Non-exclusive” is a foreign term to the UFC. Are they mellowing out? Changing their philosophies? Hell, maybe this was the “mind-blowing” announcement. Probably not, but good news none the less.
Now, I would be really impressed if they would just make those contracts “non-exclusive.”