Demetrious Johnson: XBox Sponsorship on the Rocks

Mixed martial arts champ Demetrious Johnson will be fighting this coming Saturday at the MGM Grand Arena. However, Johnson is bringing in something new in the octagon.

Johnson will be trying to hold on to his title for the seventh time when he fights with John Dodson this coming UFC 191. Their bout will be tagged as the main event of the night.

However, this is the first time Johnson will be stepping inside the octagon with the new Reebok deal. From this fight forward, Johnson will be wearing the new Reebok’s UFC champion kit when fighting inside the octagon. The downside of this new deal, though, is that he will not be sponsored by Microsoft’s Xbox anymore.

In a recent interview event held in downtown Los Angeles, Johnson admitted that his sponsorship with Xbox has been greatly affected, now that the new Reebok deal is in effect.

“I’m still in touch with them. If any opportunities come up, then if I fit that role I’ll be reached out. Other than that, it’s just not there,” Johnson said.

The issue with retaining MMA sponsorships outside of the Reebok deal is that sponsor’s payoff rose dramatically when their brand was shown on tv. Fighters are still allowed to do personal appearances when it is not fight week. However, the value of the sponsorship declines if there are a few people watching (instead of hundreds or thousands).

johnson2“All the sponsors out there, they’re looking for that prime-time spot, that’s what they’re paying for if any, Bad Boy, Hayabusa, whatever’s out there, they’re looking for that prime spot. Of course they can do stuff outside the Octagon, but they’re going to make their big money inside the Octagon, that’s where they get the most viewers,” he said.

It stood true for the Johnson, who somehow implied that he earned more from his sponsorship from Xbox than from his PPV fights.

“I’m happy about the Reebok thing. Just because at the end of the day, even though the Xbox deal was there, at the end of the day, I’d still have to negotiate stuff with those guys. Because, ‘is it going to be on PPV or is it on FOX?’ Believe it or not, Xbox loved it more when I was on FOX than PPV. Because there’s more viewers on FOX, it’s a bigger platform,” he explained.

At the end of it all, Johnson opted to take things in a more positive light. It’s not like all rainbows and butterflies when it comes to going after MMA sponsor money; something that most fans didn’t notice happening during fight games. He revealed that now that the Reebok deal is on, he won’t have to worry about getting the sponsor money because once he steps in the octagon, he is sure he’ll automatically be getting 40 grand and he won’t have to worry about checks bouncing.

“It’s a little more legit, where in the past, you hear from fighters,’ I haven’t gotten paid by my last sponsor. There were times in the WEC I didn’t get paid from my sponsors. Now I don’t have to worry about that anymore,” Johnson added.