NEW YORK--History was made on Tuesday morning (June 30, 2015) with the unveiling of the new UFC "Fight Kit" at the Skylight Modern on 27th street, making the promotion's six-year, $70 million deal with Reebok official while ushering in a new era with a first glimpse at what the apparel brand has cooked up for the world's biggest fight promotion.
About 20 members of the UFC roster took to the stage to showcase different variations of the new Reebok fight kits featuring t-shirts and fight shorts with a white base and a crest that designates the fighter's home country, and also their last names placed vertically on the back of each shirt. Then the champions all came out to display their specific line, featuring a black base with a gold belt insignia. On the wall was a sign that read, "Earned through greatness, worn with pride."
The production and video intros were grandiose with a deep voice consistently repeating "UFC Fight Kit" over and over throughout the presentation as the different groups of fighters made their way onto the stage (video here). Later on, Conor McGregor, Ronda Rousey, and Cain Velasquez were brought up individually to discuss some of the different aspects of the kits and why they liked them.
UFC President Dana White was also in attendance and said he was very pleased with the presentation and new look for the UFC roster.
"We did a run through last night and it was the first time I saw it and I'm really happy with it," White told MMAmania.com. "Everything has been awesome. I really like the presentation that these guys put together and I really like the clothes. And the most important thing about this, is all the fighters are really happy with it and at the end of the day, that is all that matters."
He was in good spirits and joked about the voice over, comparing it to the "Street Fighter" video game.
Of course, many fighters (like this one) have been very unhappy about losing out on sponsorship money they once relied upon and several have been outspoken since the deal with Reebok was announced.
White insists the feedback has been mostly positive (despite this).
"Listen, it's one of those things," he said. "This sport is like a hair salon, there's always all this… gossip going on, 'yip, yip, yip.' This is the best thing in the world, not only for the UFC, for the athletes in the sport. These guys get paid every time they go out and fight in the Reebok gear. Reebok is sponsoring a lot of the athletes. This could end up being… There could be a Michael Jordan in this group that ends up with a long-term relationship with Reebok.
"Everything about it is positive. Change in this sport always causes drama, but this is going to be an amazing thing for the fighters. Now that they have it on, now they feel it, they've been a part of the process for the last few days and we've had nothing but positive comments. We went to dinner last night and everyone was saying… Alexander Gustafsson just said to me and Lorenzo 'this is awesome, thanks for making me a part of this.' It's all positive man. It's all good."
The fighters came in earlier in the week to try on the new fight kits before the Tuesday reveal. We won't be able see how they will look on TV or in the arena until UFC 189, but White said not to worry, especially with what we've seen over the years prior to the Reebok deal.
"Dude, if you've ever watched a UFC event and seen the stuff that they walk out in now, this is going to be a home run," White said, taking a subtle shot at some of the former apparel brands. "I'm not that worried about it at all. We were just talking about how light the clothes were, like the shorts. You see a lot of people have to drop their shorts to weigh in. Half of these guys will be able to weigh in with this stuff and it won't even affect the scale."
White said the Reebok deal is "part of the evolution of the sport," and mentioned that he, and Lorenzo and Frank Fertitta all had a reflective moment recently as they reached another milestone and goal with the UFC.
"We always have our moments when something epic happens for us and it feels good," he said proudly. "We look at this deal five or 10 years down the road, there will never be a situation where we look back on it and say 'we shouldn't have done that.'"
With the deal with Reebok firmly in place, what could be next?
"I don't know. Everybody asks when me when we do something great, 'how do we top it?' But we seem to always come up with something."