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Some Reebok – UFC Details are Revealed

01-16-15. By JP Scarano, Exclusively for TheFightWorld.Com

The deal with the UFC and Reebok is becoming very clear and looks very uptight to me. After you all read this please tell me what you think of all these new rules and things that are happening in the UFC. And, as well, do you think this is fair ? This is a pretty long read so be ready. Here come the rules:

1) Ranked fighters will get to pick their color scheme first, with the higher ranked fighter getting first selection if he/she faces another ranked opponent. Same colors can not be used. (TFW: Seriously? This sounds more like a wedding event than it does an MMA event!)

2) Each fighter and their cornermen will be issued official Reebok gear upon arrival of host city. Product will include a gym bag, hoodie, T-shirt, workout shorts, weigh-in shorts, weigh-in sweatpants, weigh-in T-shirts, weigh-in walkout hoodie, weigh-in hat, underwear, socks, and shoes. Women will also be issued sports bras. ( TFW: Hey, let’s go a little further and wrap the cars the fighters arrive in with Reebok logos. And make the drivers wear Reebok gear, too. And, while we’re at it, let’s force the host cities to temporarily change their names to Reebokville!)

3) If any fighter or member of their corner refuses to wear the issued gear, they will assessed a penalty which includes a fine and possible removal from the event. ( TFW: And you won’t be invited to Dana’s birthday party, either. So there!)

4) Fighters must wear Reebok-issued gear during all UFC sponsored events including open workouts, media day, weigh-ins, and press conferences. A fighter can opt to wear business or business casual attire to the press conference instead of issued gear. (TFW: Business attire?? You expect UFC fighters to wear business attire? You pay most of your fighters a paltry sum but, if they buck you on this rule, they have to spend what little money they get on suits and ties????)

5) A fighter is responsible for lost merchandise and/or replacement costs. (TFW: Not only are you forced to wear the stuff, you have to pay to replace it if you lose it or damage it? Who’s worth a billion dollars again?)

6) Fighters are paid by the UFC within 10 business days of their fight. Fighters are paid based on the UFC fighter pay scale and their official ranking at the time of weigh-in.

7) The UFC logo is not to be covered and no other logo and/or sponsor can be visible while UFC has the option to add another sponsor/logo to the attire. (TFW: This is where we think the anti-trust suit begins for the clothing and equipment industry. Again, the UFC gets the sponsors money, not the fighters. Why? Is the UFC bankrupt?)

8) All headphones worn by fighters must be supplied by “Monster”. (TFW: Yet another anti-trust issue!)

9) After each fight, the fighter is required to select one piece of their official walkout gear, the product they physically wore to the Octagon, (not including underwear) and return it to the UFC equipment manager.(TFW: What the heck is this all about??? Will this be memorabilia that the UFC can sell after the event? How money-hungry can they get?)

10) Fighters must also wear Reebok apparel to any UFC-produced show including, Embedded, UFC Tonight, UFC Countdown, Ultimate Insider, and The Ultimate Fighter. (TFW: Control, control and more control!)

After reading all these rules and changes to the UFC I don’t know how you feel about all this. For me, it is becoming something that these fighters and MMA aren’t really about. You must wear Reebok’s gear at all times and forget all the other sponsors. Forbidding the wearing of the same color as the another fighter seems to be very controlling.

When did the UFC become a team sport where they need an equipment manager ? I know this is a good deal for the UFC and possibly for the fighters but to add more rules like this and making them do things like this makes me wonder how much control will the UFC have left.

What right does Reebok/UFC have to make these types of changes and not inform the fighters about this before finalizing this deal? The UFC claims that the fighters knew about this deal but that is a bald faced lie. I have interviewed several current fighters in the UFC. They tell me they knew nothing about the details of this deal and have been waiting to be informed about it.
I may be wrong about this and it might be a good deal for everyone but I have a suspicion that a lot of the other clothing lines will be less than happy about this. They will most likely feel like they have helped to promote the UFC/MMA and the thanks they get for that is to be forced out.

And here’s a legal question; What about the advertising agreements that the fighters have with other clothing and equipment manufacturers? Can they be sued for breach of contract when they do not appear in their merchandise as agreed? Wouldn’t that be an additional slap in the face?

It seems as if the UFC, in concert with Reebok, have stacked the deck against the fighters and the clothing and equipment industry as a whole or, at the least, have discounted them completely. This deal smells like a plate of rotten sardines to me.

What do you fans and fighters think ?

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One comment

  1. Interesting article. I enjoyed the veiled snarky comments.

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