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UFC Senior VP on Reebok deal: Sponsors sticking with fighters, will review aspects of the program

UFC Senior Vice President of Global Consumer Products Tracey Bleczinski gives the MMA world an update on exactly what is going down with the current Reebok athlete outfitting policy.

Brad Barket/Getty Images

Gone are the days of fighters decked out iconic sponsor gear, as well as the banners that hung behind them prior to the referee asking both if they were ready to get it on.

That means no more Bad Boy, no more Headrush and certainly no more Condom Depot.

Beginning with Ultimate Fighting Championship's (UFC) International Fight Week, which begins July 6, 2015, and will continue until UFC 189 on July 11, all combatants will be required to wear Reebok-only clothing inside the Octagon. This controversial partnership between UFC brass and Reebok has been both praised and ridiculed over the last several months since the deal was first announced in Dec. 2014.

On June 30, the Reebok-branded "UFC Fight Kits" were unveiled to the world, albeit with more than a few hysterical mistakes.

UFC has been quick to reassure fighters, as well as sponsors, that they can continue to represent other brands, so long as it is not during fight week events such as conferences and scrums or on the actual night of the event. This, however, has not stopped men like Matt Mitrione, and embattled Featherweight champion Jose Aldo, from criticizing the pay structure of the Reebok deal.

Fighters from UFC women's divisions, like former UFC Bantamweight title challenger Sara McMann, have also come to the forefront and made it known that the deal looks "discriminatory against an entire gender." One of McMann's past Octagon foes Miesha Tate also chimed in saying, "I'm probably losing 90 percent of what I make in sponsorships."

UFC released a statement in May regarding McMann's gripes with gender inequity, which stated "women with a limited number of bouts under the tenure model are treated the same as experienced men."

Though much of the reaction toward the deal has been negative, it appears that most fighters, according to UFC Senior Vice President of Global Consumer Products Tracey Bleczinski, have not suffered as much we may have been lead to believe.

"Actually, what we have heard from a lot of fighters is that their sponsors are sticking with them and that they have renewed and extended their deals, which we fully expect sponsors to do and we encourage them to do that," Bleczinksi told MMAJunkie.

Bleczinski maintains, as UFC president Dana White said upon announcement of the six-year deal, that "the vast majority of the cash revenue we receive is going directly to the athletes."

Hopefully that makes up for the $60,000 Lightweight No. 1 contender Donald Cerrone stands to lose per fight.

Numerous discussions have been held between fighters and the promotion, which "have been very robust," to alleviate some of the animosity towards the new fighter uniforms and seemingly unfair pay structure. UFC will continue to monitor all facets of the outfitting policy going forward, aside from one.

"We will be reviewing all aspects of the program on an on-going basis, however the current compensation has been laid out for the term of the partnership," said Bleczinski.

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