UFC boss man Dana White has talked about fighter uniforms for some time, and today, the promotion announced they’re coming next year courtesy of a new deal with Reebok.
The UFC and the sporting goods giant announced the six year agreement today at a press conference, which White and UFC CEO Lorenzo Fertitta attended. The financial details, in terms of what’s involved for the UFC and Reebok weren’t disclosed, but it will apparently send some cash to all of the promotion’s fighters.
According to what was relayed at today’s presser, and a follow up statement from the UFC, every fighter will receive sponsorship money as a result of the uniform deal. Higher ranked fighters will receive more, guaranteed income, while lower ranked fighter’s will receive less. Fighter’s who aren’t ranked in the top 15 will reportedly receive a base fee.
In addition, fighters will receive 20% of the sales which stem from their specific, personalized uniform. In other words, uniforms will be tailored for each fighter, like they are for each sports team in other leagues.
Many fighters and managers have reported that sponsorships are hard to come by these days, so this will likely come as very welcome news for members of the UFC roster, who have had trouble generating extra income. The sales revenue could also go a long ways in helping fighters out financially.
Where things could get interesting, however, is the revelation that advertising from other fighter sponsorships will no longer be allowed during UFC fight week and at cards. White pointed out that you don’t see other pro athletes competing with their own sponsorships on game day etc, but, for fighters that currently have big deals with other companies, this could be an issue…
All that aside, this is certainly big news for the UFC and the MMA industry.
Here are just some of the details the UFC has released regarding the deal:
Why is UFC implementing this new policy?
UFC has partnered with Reebok, a major global footwear and sports apparel brand, to create a unique, iconic and consistent look for our athletes, reflective of their dedication, athletic superiority and determination. This partnership will create long-term value for UFC athletes and their brands by elevating and further professionalizing the events and the sport in general. This is another major step in UFC’s maniacal pursuit of excellence.
- When will this new policy start?
The new policy will start the week of July 6, 2015, which coincides with International Fight Week (IFW) in Las Vegas, Nevada.
- How does this benefit the athletes?
The new policy will provide several benefits to the athletes, including but not limited to:
- Associating every athlete with a global athletic footwear and apparel brand
- High quality performance apparel specifically developed, tested and produced for MMA athletes
- Elevating the visual identity of UFC athletes to be on par with other global mainstream sports
- A guaranteed income for each fight, eliminating the burden of seeking sponsors on a per event basis
- The opportunity to generate royalty income from the new athlete-specific products created through this program
- When will athletes’ sponsors no longer be permitted to have exposure on athlete apparel?
Athletes’ sponsors will no longer be permitted to have exposure on athlete apparel during UFC fight week official events including fight night, UFC produced content or other official UFC events beginning the week of July 6, 2015, which coincides with International Fight Week (IFW) in Las Vegas, Nevada.
- Are athletes’ sponsors permitted during UFC fight week official events including fight night, UFC produced content, and other official UFC events?
Athlete sponsors are not permitted during UFC fight week official events including fight night, UFC produced content, or other official UFC events. Athletes can retain their existing sponsors, however those sponsors are no longer permitted to have exposure within UFC fight week official events including fight night, UFC produced content, or other official UFC events.
- Can athletes continue to have sponsors outside of official events?
Yes, athletes can have apparel and non-apparel sponsors outside of UFC fight week official events including fight night, UFC produced content, or other official UFC events. Existing or prospective apparel and non-apparel sponsors can use the athlete’s name and likeness, but may not use UFC trademarks unless they have a direct commercial relationship with UFC.
- Will sponsor banners be permitted for the walkout and inside the Octagon?
Sponsor banners will no longer be permitted for the walkout or inside the Octagon beginning with the UFC event on July 11, 2015, which coincides with International Fight Week (IFW) in Las Vegas, Nevada.
- How will athletes get their fight night product kit and fight week gear bag?
The UFC equipment team will distribute the fight night product kit and fight week gear bag. The fight night product kit will be provided to the athletes upon arrival at the event venue on the day of the fight. All other fight week product will be provided upon check-in at the UFC office at the host hotel. New fight week gear bags and fight night product kits will be provided to all athletes and their corners for each fight week.
- Will the fight night product kit have options for the athletes?
Yes, there will be options on product styles, colors and fight night short silhouettes including board shorts, vale tudos and skorts which will be selected in advance of fight week.