The sponsorship deal between Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) and Reebok isn’t the most popular among fighters, but it could all come to an end very soon.
During a recent interview with ESPN’s Dan Le Batard, UFC president Dana White revealed that the deal with Reebok is due to expire after 2020. White went on to say that the promotion is already speaking with other companies about becoming UFC’s official sponsor.
I guess the whole kit and kaboodle isn’t so “awesome” after all.
According to ESPN’s Ariel Helwani (shown below), he has heard the same rumblings about UFC and Reebok cutting ties after 2020.
In an interview w/ @LeBatardShow earlier today, Dana White said the Reebok deal is coming to an end, he thinks, at the end of this year, & that they are talking to companies about a new deal.— Ariel Helwani (@arielhelwani) May 29, 2020
I’ve heard the same. At the moment, wouldn’t be surprised if the two sides part ways.
“I’ve heard the same. At the moment, wouldn’t be surprised if the two sides part ways.”
This may sound like good news for UFC fighters who have really lost out on outside sponsorship deals that used to bank a ton of cash, but a new deal with a new company doesn’t necessarily mean things will change.
When asked if fighters will be allowed to have sponsors in the cage again, his response was, "The fighters get paid. The fighters get paid for whatever sponsor we have, they get a piece of that. And they can have whatever sponsors they want outside the cage.”— Ariel Helwani (@arielhelwani) May 29, 2020
“The fighters get paid,” White told Le Batard. “The fighters get paid for whatever sponsor we have, they get a piece of that. And they can have whatever sponsors they want outside the cage.”
UFC and Reebok signed an exclusive six-year UFC apparel deal back in 2014 worth $70 million. The partnership seemed good at first as UFC fighters finally had an official uniform like every other major sports organization, but things quickly took a turn for the worse. Fighters were no longer able to feature outside sponsor logos during UFC fight week events, including fight night, UFC-produced content or other official UFC events. Fighters were also prohibited from showcasing outside logos on banners inside of the Octagon.
“We feel like we’ve created a program that will be as much, and in some cases, more than (some fighters) are currently making,” former UFC CEO Lorenzo Fertitta said at the time. “They’re still going to be able to keep their other sponsors, so we look at this as being additive. On top of that, they get a royalty for anything that gets sold that actually has their name on it.”
While some fighters like Conor McGregor, Rose Namajunas, and Paige VanZant have benefited from their own exclusive Reebok deals at one time or another, most have struggled to make up for the money lost from other sponsors that would normally be featured inside of the cage and during fight week. Maybe a new deal with lead to more opportunities for the average UFC fighter, not just the superstars.
What say you, Maniacs? If Reebok is officially done which company should be the next official apparel sponsor of UFC?
Let’s hear it.