It’s almost 2020, which means there’s one year left on the Reebok deal. What will the UFC do next?
In 2015, the UFC partnered with Reebok in one of the most hated deals in the company’s history. The UFC signed a six year agreement that made Reebok the UFC’s provider of all fight week apparel. The days of seeing cool fight shorts like Chuck Liddell’s “Iceman” shorts were over. That would also mean that fighters on the roster could not wear outside sponsors on their shorts, or wear non-reebok shirts before or after the fight. Fighters and fans were very unhappy with this deal because the fighter’s themselves were losing out on so much profit from sponsorship money. Most fighters made more money from sponsorships than their show and win money for competing. It’s almost 2020 now. With one year left on the deal, where will the UFC go from there in 2021?
I see this going one of three ways:
1: The UFC lets its fighters have sponsorships again
This would be the most likeable option among the fighters. It’s been well publicized that they are getting pennies by Reebok compared to what they good get from outside sponsors. Fans miss fighters coming out in top mma brands like Venum. Now, as big as the sport is, Big time companies like Nike, Adidas, and Under Armour would most likely be interested in sponsoring a few fighters. This would be great for the sport and keep fighters happy.
2: UFC Partners with a Big name company
I mentioned before Nike, Adidas and Under Armour. The three top dogs. Imagine one of these brand becoming the sole official merchandise partner of the UFC. It could be great for the company, as long as the fighters get a much more reasonable share of the pie. Three thousand dollars in sponsorship from Nike is not going to cut it. Pay the fighters like they would be paid by outside sponsors. No- pay them better than the outside sponsors. Former UFC heavyweight Brendan Schaub was making six figures in sponsorships when he was fighting. The big companies are going to have to pull out their checkbooks for fighters to be happy.
3: UFC Resigns with Reebok
I’m sure if most of the UFC roster heard that the UFC has renewed their deal with Reebok, they would contemplate asking for a release, or not renewing their contract with the company. This has been done before by fighters such as Benson Henderson, Ryan Bader, and Gegard Mousasi, who took their talents to Bellator. Reebok will need to pay the fighters what they deserve if they don’t want this to backfire all over again. This deal was a huge part of the reason the UFC roster wanted to start a fighter’s union in the first place.
Hopefully Dana White gives us some insight on where the company is going with the deal in this upcoming year. Option 1 is the ideal scenario. Option 2, we can work with it under the right conditions. If Option 3 happens the exact same way it happened in 2015…..Then God help us all.
Featured Photo Credit- UFC
1st Photo Credit-UFC
2nd Photo Credit- FootballScoop
3rd Photo Credit-Reebok
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