Update on Fighter’ World Tour story
June 4, 2014
Last month we ran a post which told of a potential Fighters’ World Tour in which Anderson Silva, Georges St. Pierre and Jon Jones would make an appearance at a Singapore event. After we posted the story, we were contacted by the UFC to get its side of what transpired.
A Singapore paper, The Strait Times, reported that an 11 city World Tour promoted by a local company and sponsored by Nike would take place. The Singapore leg of the alleged fighter tour offered a two hour “hands on” clinic with the fighters for $888 or a $128 “meet and greet” session. However, after contacting the fighters’ managers and doing some checking, the UFC had warned its fans that the tour could be a scam. The Sports Business Daily had picked up the story as well indicating that the potential reason for the tour not occurring was due to a possible rift between the UFC and Nike. We ran something similar to that of the Singapore paper and the Sports Business Daily.
The UFC responded to our post taking issue with the fact that we had woven the Nike issue into the story. In an email to MMA Payout Reed Harris of the UFC stated that he was directly involved with this issue and talked to all of the managers about this tour. He stated that the managers “had never heard, talked to or agreed to appear in Singapore with the promoter.” Harris, added, “we became involved simply to protect any fans over there who were paying $888 for something that we in fact knew was not going to happen. This was a scam and I felt we were doing a public service by informing fans that none of these fighters had agreed to do any of these “tour stops”.”
Harris stated via email that the UFC became involved when its office in Singapore asked him if he knew anything about a fighter tour in Asia. Harris, who handles fighter relations for the UFC, initially thought that he would be able to work with the fighters in Asia since they would be involved in this tour. However, upon finding out from their respective managers that it was not happening, he let the UFC know that the tour was not legitimate.
MMA Payout has followed up with the managers for Silva, GSP and Jones with Ed Soares responding via email that Anderson would not be attending. Malki Kawa indicated via text message that, “We never booked, spoke to, electronically communicated, agreed to at all with anyone in regards to an Asian seminar.” Kawa stated that his office handles appearances for fighters he represents. With Jones, Kawa handles those appearances personally.
A follow up with Nike was not returned and the event organizers in Singapore did not return communications as well.
For those wondering, according to Harris, the fighters are allowed to participate in seminars, exhibitions, signings, appearances and typically do not need UFC permission. But, if they do things outside of the country, Harris wants to know so that the UFC does not “double book” them.
Harris stated that Nike did not even come up when discussing this tour with the fighters. He did state that a UFC representative contacted Nike and the company did not know anything about it. So, it appears that it was some type of scam looking to bilk fans out of money and not delivering.
We have yet to hear from Nike and the tour organizers despite efforts to contact them. The lack of reply from the tour organizer and the promoters of the Singapore event are a concern for those fans that hoped to pay (or already paid) to see Silva, GSP and Jones. None of the fighters’ twitter feeds indicate that they are on tour or in Asia. In fact, Jones was just in South America. Soares indicated Anderson was not participating. Silva does use another outside agency for bookings but according to Harris that agency denied involvement in this “tour.”
The UFC likely did the right thing in warning fans that the event may be a scam. The $888 price tag seems steep for this type of event. Hopefully, no one has paid that amount yet especially if it’s not happening.