15 for 15: No. 6 UFC-Reebok partner to tepid, disastrous results

December 28, 2015

In July, the UFC officially added Reebok as the company’s exclusive clothier.  No longer would contracted fighters wear non-UFC sponsors on their shirts, shorts or hats as “fight kits” would be issued for each fighter.  In addition, we said goodbye to fight sponsor banners.  The overarching issue was the new pay structure which drew the most criticism.

The official policy was outlined by the UFC.  The launch was self-gratuitous and felt out of place for an MMA organization.  Judge for yourself.

Since the inception of the UFC-Reebok relationship, there has been criticism on the operation and execution of the sponsorship.  The sponsor payouts for Reebok would now be based on the amount of fights within the company.  Overall, this meant a loss of revenue for fighters.  From our post earlier this year:

Fighters with 1 to 5 bouts will receive $2,500 per fight; 6 to 10 bouts get $5,000; 11 to 15 bouts get $10,000; 16 to 20 bouts get $15,000; and 21 bouts and above get $20,000.  As it previously indicated, title fights would receive more.  Challengers will receive $30,000 and Champions will receive $40,0000.

The sponsorship deal also left out cut people.  Thus, cut men such as Stitch Duran were “cut” out of the sponsorship payouts from Reebok as they lost out on the previous sponsors they once had.  Duran spoke out about this fact and was summarily dismissed from the UFC soon thereafter.  Whether or not Duran’s comments were planned, the UFC suffered a PR hit as they let one of the more known cut people go.

Dana White addressed the Duran firing in an FS1 interview and was unrepentant about the dismissal.  Rather, he used the old technique of switching the conversation (i.e, whether or not Duran was a friend of White; something Duran stated in an interview) in his interview with Karyn Bryant.

Sara McMann indicated that she would look into hiring an attorney as the Reebok deal may be unfair to women.  No word on a lawsuit as of yet.

The rollout of the Reebok jerseys saw many glaring misspellings.  Reebok attempted to address these issues.  However, the mishaps continued through the year.

An official Reebok shirt that promoted an event in Ireland left out Northern Ireland in a depiction of the country.  Another shirt promoting Jose Aldo actually referred to a fictional “Anderson Aldo.”

The start of the Reebok sponsorship has been one public relations problem after another.  We shall see if the company rights itself in 2016.  As for now, MMA fans have yet to warm up to Reebok as the company’s official sponsor.

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