This past weekend at UFC Belfast was meant to be Neil Seery's swansong. It was an opportunity for the veteran to have his moment on Irish soil in front of a fan base which has nothing but respect for the Team Ryano fighter. Preceding build up to the event, Seery's bout against Ian McCall was one of the most anticipated fights of the night - despite only being on the prelims.
However, much to the disappointment of both fighters, McCall had to pull out of the fight due to illness. Understandably upset, Neil Seery spoke to the media about the ordeal afterwards;
I nearly burst out crying, to tell you the truth...I was so upset. There’s nothing I can do. Me giving out about it and crying isn’t going to change the fact that I’m not fighting tomorrow. I’m going to go home, I’m going to sit down with my wife and basically see what’s next.
Unfortunately, what came next for Seery was news that he would not receive his payment from Reebok as he failed to compete on the night - despite the fact it was through no fault of his own.
Illnesses and injuries are bound to happen in mixed martial arts - it is a physical sport at the end of the day. However, what should be prevented is fighters having to plead on social media for a payment which they are fully entitled to.
feel for you mate especially it being ur retirement fight. U should get paid ur fight and win bonus! U put in the work
— Stevie Ray (@StevenRayMMA) November 20, 2016
MMA journalist, Ariel Helwani later confirmed that Reebok do not decide who gets paid from the sponsorship money but rather the UFC themselves which only highlights the restrictive nature of the deal for fighters on the roster.
— Ariel Helwani (@arielhelwani) November 20, 2016
Without going into the minor details of the Reebok deal, fighters are paid more depending on their relative fighting experience in the UFC. The main card fights are listed below with the amount each fighter received through sponsorship on the night.
UFC Belfast Reebok Pay:
Gegard Mousasi: $10,000
def. Uriah Hall: $10,000
Stevie Ray: $2,500
def. Ross Pearson: $20,000
Alexander Volkov: $2,500
def. Timothy Johnson: $2,500
Artem Lobov: $2,500
def. Teruto Ishihara: $2,500
From an Irish point of view, Artem Lobov left the SSE Arena with a staggering $2,500 from the Reebok payout despite being arguably his biggest victory inside the octagon.
For Neil Seery, it would seem unjust for a pioneer of Irish MMA to go out in such fashion. Hopefully we see him back in the octagon one last time to get the send off he deserves.
Fuck all else matters once @Unclecreepymma is alright we can always do it again get healthy pal 👊🇮🇪
— Neil 2 Tap Seery (@NeilSeeryMMA) November 18, 2016
While according to journalist, Mike Bohn, apparently the Dubliner will receive a $5,000 payout from Reebok which may suggest that the general discontent by the MMA community didn't go unnoticed on social media.
I'm told @NeilSeeryMMA will indeed be paid his Reebok Athlete Outfitting Policy money after all. $5,000.
— Mike Bohn (@MikeBohn) November 20, 2016