http://mmajunkie.com/news/13828/mma...s-greater-control-of-fighter-sponsorships.mma MMAjunkie.com Fight Biz: UFC seeks greater control of fighter sponsorships by Steve Sievert on Jan 26, 2009 at 8:31 am ET In an attempt to exert even more influence over the flow of marketing dollars into the promotion, the UFC is exploring new ways of controlling the fighter-sponsor relationship. Traditionally, UFC fighters have been able to cut their own sponsorship deals with companies for the rights to their fight shorts, T-shirts and caps they wear before and after bouts. These agreements, which can often land regional and local companies on fight gear, provide an additional source of revenue to supplement fighters' UFC contracts. The UFC has policed this practice, preventing some sponsorships from happening, but it has not owned the deal-flow process. However, the days of fighters' managers cutting those deals appear to be ending. MMAjunkie.com (www.mmajunkie.com) has learned through an industry source that the UFC is considering a new sponsorship business model, which would require any company interested in sponsoring a fighter to work directly with the UFC. The UFC would negotiate the deal for the fighter and charge the sponsoring company a promotional fee for the right to have its brand on display on fighters in the octagon. In theory, that new fee could reduce the value of the deal for the fighter, especially since sponsor dollars are going to be in shorter supply in the foreseeable future due to the economic downturn. Hypothetically, if the UFC charges a 15 percent promotional fee, that's 15 percent less revenue from the deal earned by the fighter. The potential move makes good business sense for the UFC. The promotion wields even tighter control of what companies obtain access to its increasingly global marketing platform, protects its brand and generates additional revenue as a result. At minimum, the impact on fighters is loss of control over sponsors with which they associate. In addition, with the UFC calling the sponsorship shots, the role of fighters' managers is downsized significantly. As another option, the UFC also is considering taking a page from the music industry by establishing "360-degree contracts" with its athletes. As first reported by MMAPayout.com, these contracts would give the UFC access to a portion of all dollars generated by fighters outside of the octagon. Under this scenario, the UFC would not only dictate what sponsors appear on fighters' gear, but the promotion also would help fighters secure additional sponsorship revenue and take a sizeable percentage of the related dollars. The industry source MMAjunkie.com spoke with said neither of these strategies has been officially put in place, but he believes it's only a matter of time before the UFC makes a move to further control what a fighter can and cannot do on his own to produce additional revenue. Round 5 to make Fedor figurine – Fedor Emelianenko is the latest mixed martial artist to agree to be depicted in plastic. Round 5 has signed a licensing agreement with the Russian heavyweight to produce a Fedor figurine. The company is introducing foursomes of action figures each quarter this year, but it has not announced when the Emelianenko product will roll off the production line. Eleven other MMA fighters have contracts in place with Round 5, including Andrei Arvlovski, Frank Mir and Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira, whose deals were announced earlier this month, along with John McCarthy, as fighters in the company's third series due in April. Emelianenko will maintain creative control of his likenesses. He also will have a hand in creating the final design and will benefit from a royalty agreement that gives him a considerable portion of the proceeds from sales.