In late 2014, Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) inked a six-year deal with Reebok to be its official provider of all apparel worn by fighters during fight week and on fight night.
The deal – worth an estimated $70 million – also saw individual sponsorships for fighters go out the window. While athletes were still allowed to maintain their sponsors, they were not allowed to display any other company’s logo during any UFC-related event other than Reebok. That ultimately forced many sponsors to bolt, drastically reducing fighter’s pay outside of their set salary from the promotion.
Sure, the Reebok deal also came with sponsorship cash for the fighters, but it mostly paled in comparison to what most were used to getting.
But according to UFC president, Dana White, UFC and Reebok will not renew their deal after this year, as he took to “The Schmozone” to hint at which company could be its next partner.
“Obviously I can’t tell you that,” White said when asked if NIKE, Under Amour or Venom would be the new uniform distributor for the promotion. After further pressing, White ultimately revealed that “Yes, one of those three.”
Under Armour was in the running before Reebok ultimately won out six years ago, while Venom has long been a staple in the mixed martial arts (MMA) apparel scene. And of course Nike – perhaps the biggest sports apparel brand on the planet – has had close ties to big stars such as Jon Jones and Anderson Silva in the past, though “Bones” was ultimately dropped for his out-of-the-cage mishaps.
Whether or not the athlete sponsorship any structure changes with the new partner, remains to be seen. Any guess as to who you think will ultimately win out?