Updated: Hayabusa Fight Wear Out, Now In For UFC 100
June 30, 2009
Add another brand to the recent spate of clothing lines being banned from the Octagon by the UFC. MMAPayout has learned that Hayabusa Fight Wear, a brand favored by Canadian fighters like Denis Kang among others, has just been added to a list of blackballed brands that includes Rolling Stone, Dethrone, and One More Round.
Updated: Our inside source with negotiations between the UFC and Hayabusa reports that Hayabusa is now back in the good graces of the UFC. “They were never 100% banned, but they worked out whatever needed to be discussed,” was the word coming back on talks between the two. The two parties seem to have to some understanding on terms to avoid the expulsion, with the threat of banishment being used as tactic in negotiations. So Hayabusa is good to go for UFC 100.
Steve Sievert of MMAJunkie should be commended for his early reporting on these sponsor issues, as well as Sam Caplan for breaking the first concrete examples of this policy being instituted, especially the $100,000 fees that have been put in place to access fighters. Kudos to the writer at Yahoo with balls for calling the UFC on these moves when they were first rumored. I’d love to see follow-ups from Steve amd Maggie now that this has come to fruition.
This policy has been going on for a while, with managers mentioning a sponsor tax on occasion but loathe to attach a dollar figure to the amount. The top tier players in apparel (and mma apparel retailing) are either giving up points in their company or have being paying the fee for quite a while. At this point, the big fish have been snagged and the UFC is now rounding up the stragglers.
This is a situation that has been brewing for quite a while, and one that we have commented on. In our piece for SI.com, we noted that the UFC would move to become the central conduit through which all sponsor dollars would flow. They are looking to institute trickle down economic theory on the world of MMA sponsorships, where the big dollars are deposited at the corporate level with the UFC, with the minor amounts trickling down to the fighters. The $100,000 dollar fee is lining the UFC’s pockets, but at the same time is shifting the primary relationship in sponsorship from the Fighter/Manager combo and the sponsor to the sponsor and the UFC. With the fighter/sponsor relationship altered, the portability of sponsorships if one leaves the UFC is lessened. With the UFC controlling all the moving parts of revenue for fighters, the specter of the UFC moving towards 360 deals is becoming increasingly probable. For all of the reasons above, the shift in Sponsorships in the UFC doesn’t bode well for the fighter.