JAKKS Inks Deal with WEC, Pride

September 2, 2008

Collectible figure maker Jakks Pacific announced today the addition of the WEC and Pride Fighting Championships to their offerings, this is in addition to their deal with the UFC. The Press Release:

– JAKKS Pacific, Inc. (Nasdaq:JAKK) today announced the signing of two exclusive, four year, worldwide Master Toy license agreements with MMA organizations World Extreme Cage Fighting(R) (WEC(TM)) and PRIDE(R). JAKKS is expected to launch the line of collectible action figures, play sets and accessories based on WEC and PRIDE in Spring 2010.

WEC focuses on lighter weight classes includingthe bantamweight and featherweight divisions. WEC was founded in 2001 and purchased by the owners of the Ultimate Fighting Championship(R) brand in 2006. PRIDE, one of the most popular MMA organizations in Asia, was founded in 1997 in Japan and purchased last year by the owners of UFC.

“We are thrilled to extend our relationship with UFC by adding WEC and PRIDE to our action figure roster,” said Stephen Berman, President and COO, JAKKS Pacific. “As the world leader in fighting action figure toys, we plan on dominating the Mixed Martial Arts collector action figure arena. The addition of WEC and PRIDE gives JAKKS a substantial base of fighters with which to work and develop into a broad and exciting line of collectable products for fans.”

“This agreement with JAKKS gives fight fans a premier line of authentic collector action figures,” said Dana White, UFC President. “This is a great partnership that benefits the sport, our athletes and our fans.”

The Pride inclusion should be interesting. The purchase of Pride was a nightmare contract-wise with most of the contracts not carrying over from one organization to the other. It would be hard to believe that image and name rights would have carried over in cases where the contracts didn’t. One possible reason for the inclusion of Pride may be to offer alternative versions for UFC fighters under contract thatt also fought in Pride. Jakks could do UFC versions of folks like Big Nog, Wanderlei, Shogun, Rampage, Mark Coleman, Anderson Silva, etc. and also issue versions of those fighters with Pride-specific characteristics (ie Wanderlei in his speedo’s instead of his UFC board shorts.)

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