UFC signs licensing deal with UK mouthguard maker Opro

October 26, 2017

The UFC announced that it has entered into a licensing deal with UK mouthguard manufacturer Opro.  The deal, negotiated by IMG, will commence in 2018.

The agreement will grant Opro the right to make UFC branded mouthguards as well as bespoke guards for UFC athletes.

A portion of the UFC press release announcing the deal reads:

As part of this collaboration, OPRO will be able to brand the products and packaging for their Custom Fit, Self-Fit and Snap Fit product ranges, providing oral protection guards to athletes currently on the active roster.

“OPRO has ambitious international expansion plans for the coming years, and partnering with another hugely progressive and pioneering brand who are growing exponentially all over the world, particularly in key markets for us such as Asia and the Americas, is truly exciting,” OPRO Chief Executive Officer David Allen said. “This partnership with UFC reflects our continued growth in the combat sports market and we look forward to working with them as we kit out more and more UFC athletes with OPRO guards.”

UFC athletes will have the option of wearing mouthguards by OPRO while training or competing inside UFC’s world-famous Octagon®. OPRO will also offer UFC branded guards to combat participants and fight fans for purchase at opromouthguards.com and through a network of key global retail partners.

Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed.

Payout Perspective:

This does not appear to be an exclusive relationship since the UFC has a licensing deal with U.S. mouthguard maker GuardLab.  But, the deal shows that IMG is looking to regionalize licensing efforts in order to capture a broader base of partners.  Opro operates out of the UK, so you might see more of the use of the brand in Europe than here in North America.

UFC announces partnership with Legends Hospitality

July 6, 2017

The UFC announced its first-ever global retail partnership with Legends Hospitality via press release on Thursday.  The company, with offices in New York and Los Angeles will serve as the retailing partner to manage UFC retail shops at all events and fan experiences domestic and international.

The deal was negotiated by IMG.  Legends works with sports and entertainment brands across the globe including Yankee Stadium, Angel Stadium, Manchester City FC and FC Barcelona to name a few.

Payout Perspective:

No announcement on the terms of the deal but the partnership will outsource the management of the retailing aspects of the UFC shops to Legends.  In conjunction with the UFC management, Legends will likely streamline the way the UFC handles its retail from its point of purchase to its customer service.  Although most people may not recognize the change, it should help with the fan experience.

Black Friday, Cyber Monday, & Holiday Shopping Guide (2014)

November 28, 2014

In the spirit of the holidays, MMAPayout would like to share some great Black Friday and Holiday deals for our readers who have held off on their shopping to save a couple of bucks. Please feel free to share any other deals you find in the comments section. Enjoy!

EA Sports UFC:

EA_UFC_2014_Cover

Sony PS Store – $13.99 (with PS+), $19.99 (without PS+) for PS4 – (Digital Copy)

Microsoft Store – $13.20 (with Xbox Live), $39.99 (without Xbox Live) for Xbox One – (Digital Copy)

Amazon – $29.99 for PS4, $33.56 for Xbox One – (Physical Copy)

What makes this a great deal is that EA has not stopped supporting the game since the initial launch back in June. With slow sales and the fact that most video game companies don’t typically continue to update their game after the first few months, it has been a welcomed surprise how much work EA has continued to put into the game.

Not only have they continued to release patch after patch to fix the initial broken game-play, which negatively impacted its critic scores, but they’ve also continued to add more UFC fighters and content.  With that said, EA just recently announced that they will be releasing UFC Legends DLC in December.

 

WWE 2K15:

Sony PS Store – $39.99 on PS3, $59.99 on PS4 – (Digital Copy)

Microsoft Store – $29.99 on Xbox 360, $59.99 on Xbox One – (Digital Copy)

Amazon – $47.42 for PS4, $59.96 for Xbox One – (Physical Copy)

 

MMA/Boxing Apparel and Gear:

Site: www.ufcstore.com
Coupon Code: BLKFRI15 and BLKFRI20
Discount: 15% off (over $50) and 20% off (over $100)
Duration: Now

Site: www.ufc.tv
Coupon Code: FNF25 on November 24th, none needed on November 26th.
Discount: 30% off Fight Pass and 1 year subscription to UFC Mag w/ purchase of 1 year subscription
Duration: Now through December 1st

Site: www.tapout.com
Coupon Code: BF25
Discount: 25% off, free shipping orders over $75
Duration: Now

Site: http://secure.gracieacademy.com/
Coupon Code: n/a
Discount: 20% off, free shipping
Duration: Now through December 1st

Site: http://www.ringside.com/
Coupon Code: BFRI25
Discount: 25% off
Duration: Now

Site: http://shop.wwe.com/
Coupon Code: FRIDAY
Discount: 80% off merchandise, 20% off orders, free shipping on orders over 15$
Duration: Now until Nov 29th

Site: http://www.rootsoffight.com/
Coupon Code: n/a
Discount: 15%-50% off
Duration: Now through December 1st

Site: www.62gear.com
Coupon Code: black
Discount: 20% off orders over $30. Free shipping orders over $50
Duration: Now through November 29th

Site: http://www.breakpointfc.com/
Coupon Code: BPBLACK
Discount: 30% off
Duration: Now through December 1st

Site: http://www.cagesidemma.com/blfrsa.html
Coupon Code: n/a
Discount: Various sales
Duration: Now through December 2nd

Site: www.combatcorner.com
Coupon Code: n/a
Discount: 40% off
Duration: Now

Site: www.gameness.net
Coupon Code: n/a
Discount: Various sales
Duration: Now

Site: www.mmawarehouse.com
Coupon Code: n/a
Discount: 15-65% off
Duration: Now

Site: http://www.mmaoverload.com/
Coupon Code: n/a
Discount: Various sales
Duration: Now

Site: www.ringtocage.com/
Coupon Code: 30BFOFF14
Discount: 30% off, free shipping on order over $25
Duration: November 26th through December 1st

Site: http://rdxsports.com/
Coupon Code: BLACKFRIDAY
Discount: 20% off
Duration: Now until Nov 30th

Round 5 signs licensing agreement with Bruce Lee Enterprises

May 17, 2011

Round 5 collectibles announced today that it has signed an exclusive global licensing agreement with Bruce Lee Enterprises to produce Bruce Lee-themed collectibles, toys and games until 2015.

Via Round 5 press release:

“We are honored to be working with a brand with such a storied legacy as Bruce Lee,” Lau said. “We feel that we can use this opportunity to broaden the reach of both Bruce Lee and Round 5 into the niche collectible and mainstream arenas as there is already so much synergy between our brands.”

Shannon Lee, President & CEO of Bruce Lee Enterprises and daughter of Bruce Lee, believes Round 5 is the perfect partner to carry her father’s legacy into the 21st century.

“We are constantly approached by companies that want to create products under the Bruce Lee name, but we always knew we wanted to wait until we found a company that would adequately compliment my father’s legacy,” said Lee. “We are so very proud to have found Damon Lau and Round 5, we believe that Round 5 will honor my father’s name and create products that will respect his legacy.”

Development on Bruce Lee products has begun and Round 5 expects Lee products by the fall of 2011.

Payout Perspective:

As you may recall, in addition to Bruce Lee, Round 5 has a licensing deal with the UFC. This move helps Round 5 in the combat sports market as Bruce Lee is still a very popular figure amongst fight enthusiasts. For Bruce Lee Enterprises, its a good move considering the work and exposure Round 5 has received working with the UFC.

The UFC’s Challenges in China

October 12, 2010

I recently traveled to China with my fellow MBA students at the Warsaw Sports Marketing Center in order to consult with several sports leagues and firms doing business in the country. Not only was the trip very successful for the Warsaw Center, but I’ve personally returned home with a better understanding of the Chinese consumer and the key challenges facing the UFC as it looks towards expansion.

Traits of the Chinese Consumer

  • Exceptionally nationalistic
  • Historically very conservative, especially where violence in concerned
  • The average salary in urban areas is 4,000 RMB/month (~$600)
  • A great majority of their entertainment is consumed through free, state-owned television programming
  • Increasingly influenced by consumer trends in Japan and the US
  • Possess global aspirations in all walks of life; money, cars, clothes, etc.

While in China, I very much got the sense that the country is in the midst of a culture shift; much in the same way that the country has experienced somewhat of a paradigm shift regarding its political and economic ideologies. The rapid development of China’s economy and underlying infrastructure (in most areas) has generated tremendous wealth, but it’s also provided the Chinese with a sort of global aspiration: they want – and can now afford – what everyone else has (i.e., fast cars, fancy clothes, and good entertainment).

The traditional Chinese values pertaining to face, family, and country are still very much in place. However, the added element now is a young Gen Y group with the confidence, ambition, and wherewithal to adapt those core values to the Western world.

Key Challenges

1. Chinese conservatism

Despite China’s storied martial arts history and emerging cultural thaw, MMA will not be an easy sell in the country. The Chinese are still by and large a conservative and risk-averse group of consumers led by an extremely protective and controlling government. MMA is a very aggressive and violent sport that’s easily misunderstood.

The biggest challenge for the UFC in China will be obtaining buy-in at the governmental level. If it cannot cultivate key relationships within the government it can forget about television coverage, live event permits, and any sort of merchandising initiative. The Chinese still follow the cultural lead of the government in many ways, and if the government decides to throw its weight behind something, not only does that something get done, but people tend to take notice pretty quickly.

2. Revenue generation

The next biggest challenge relates to the UFC’s business model. Nearly 75% of the UFC’s revenue is event-related, but China is neither a PPV market or a significant spectator market.

The Chinese consume a great deal of their sports through free, state-owned television programming and are reluctant to pay for what they’ve always had for free – even despite the increase in the number of set-top boxes in the country. Various different sports properties have tried PPV or subscription models in the last couple years, but each have failed (including a group that bought the rights to the EPL for three years at some $70m and fell into bankruptcy two years into the deal).

The fact that it’s far more easy and cost-effective for the Chinese to stay at home and watch an event for free makes them less inclined to watch live, especially in the densely crowded and difficult to navigate urban areas. The high rate of television consumption contributes to the lackluster live-game experience at most sporting events, which in turn provides even less incentive for fans to attend. It’s a self-perpetuating cycle.

Nearly every sporting event taken to China has struggled at the gate – the Olympics, F-1, ATP, European TOUR, etc. In many cases the government often resorts to hiring groups of people or assigning army units to attend events as paid spectators just to beef up the look of the event for global television audiences. It’s a very difficult ticket sales market.

Perhaps the best way to be successful is to play on Chinese aspirations for the consumption of world class goods and services. If the UFC brings its best and brightest to China and sells it as such, it may gain an audience on the merit of simply providing its best offering to the country. It would be seen as a sign of respect to which reciprocation is almost guaranteed as a matter of courtesy and obligation.

3. Patience

In the late 1980s, the Commissioner of the NBA, David Stern, crossed the Pacific and sat in the lobby of the CCTV HQ with a box of tapes on his lap looking to accomplish one thing: get his product on television. More than 20 years later, basketball and the NBA have finally started to take hold.

There are many reasons for the NBA’s success in China – it wasn’t just Yao Ming – but perhaps the most important is the combination of effort and money over the period of the last 20+ years. If you look at the current foreign sports landscape in China, the most successful organizations are all those that have spent a good chunk of time in the country. I do not think this is coincidence.

This third challenge is one borne of patience. Is the UFC willing to make the necessary investments — concessions on rights fees to get on TV, localized manpower to cultivate government relationships, and enduring rather high opportunity costs to put on live events — in a market that isn’t likely to provide a solid return for at least another five years?

4. Others

The above three considerations are probably the biggest challenges facing the UFC in China, but it will also have to contend with a variety of other issues to establish itself in the country:

  • Navigating the sometimes very different distribution infrastructure within the country
  • Protecting its intellectual property
  • Implementing or supporting a national development program

Check back next week where I’ll expand a little further on China by taking a look at what I see to be the UFC’s roadmap for success in the country.

Silver Star President Talks ABG Deal

September 7, 2010

The fastest growing sport in the world just got put on an even faster track to mainstream awareness and one step closer to Madison Ave’s biggest dollars after one of the biggest brand licensing companies have jumped directly into the deep end of the mixed martial arts’ pool.

Authentic Brands Group LLC, a company with a giant global footprint in the worlds of apparel, consumer electronics and action sports has today announced the acquisition of TapouT, TapouT MPS, Silver Star Casting Company, Iron Star and Hitman Fight Gear to it’s portfolio, which also includes the Bob Marley Brands, among dozens of others.

In today’s press release, Authentic Brands Group’s Chairman & CEO Jamie Salter said, “This sport is still in its infancy. We strategically chose these acquisitions as our first big move because we’re getting into the right business at the right time. We’re looking forward to working with the best brands and the best athletes in the world as we transition these two companies into global lifestyle brands with our retail and licensing partners.”

In his first interview since the announcement, Silver Star president and founder Luke Burrett tells me the deal took about nine months to close, and it’s going to be mean big things for MMA fans.

“Authentic Brands Group is a brand development and licensing company. In conjunction with Leonard Green & Partners, our mandate is to acquire, manage and build long-term value in prominent consumer brands,” says Burrett, who will maintain his title for the Silver Star and Iron Star brands.

He said ABG’s overall strategy for the brands is to become a full licensing model.

“The beauty of a full licensing model from the consumer standpoint is that the products get better – at least it will with us because our internal mandate is to work with the best in class licensees,” said Burrett. “Its a simple formula really, the best brands work with the best licensees and best retailers. Plus, we have rigorous rules and regulations for our licensees – we literally approve every single product, ad, you name it. Because of this strategy, each partner gets to do what they do best, and we can focus on what we do best – and that’s marketing and building a brand.

That means TapouT’s Punkass and Skyskrape, along with Luke’s wife, Charis Burrett, will continue to be mainstays on the MMA scene, although today’s press release makes no mention of TapouT chairman Marc Kreinert.

Burrett says the acquisition of his company has always been part of his and wife Charis’ strategy.

“In business, every company reaches a point where they need to make the best decision for the company,” he said. “Charis and I have put many years into Silver Star and still have a lot of passion for the brand! ABG is the right partner and we look forward to a great future. This acquisition will strengthen every facet of Silver Star, not just MMA, so we look to our partnership with ABG to take the company to the next level in all of areas,” he said.

Silver Star sponsors UFC Middleweight champ Anderson Silva and fan favorite Clay Guida, and has had deals in place at one time or another with the likes of Georges St. Pierre and Jon Bones Jones.

The buzz about the ABG acquisitions, which may include more brands in the near future (think Sinister), was loud at last month’s UFC Fan Expo, where guys like Burrett, Skrape and Punkass were noticeably more relaxed than usual, with representatives from ABG doing most of the heavy lifting this time around.

“Since we are now going into a licensing model, I will have more time to work with our athletes and the marketing direction of the brand,” he said.

The Price It Takes: How much does it cost to be an MMA fan?

September 6, 2010

On this Labor Day, MMA Payout takes a look at how much of your hard-earned money you can spend on being a fan.

UFC 118 was the company’s sixth of the year with four more to go. PPVs buys are an essential part of UFC’s growth.  With the internet and hype shows on SpikeTV like UFC Countdown, Prelims and Weigh-Ins, the UFC does a great job of enticing fans to buy PPVs. The addition of UFC Fight Night, UFC on Versus and The Ultimate Fighter expose the casual fan to the sport and to fighters. Through the exposure, fans draw interest in certain fighters and understand the nuances of MMA.

PPVs

On DirecTV, UFC PPVs have a price point of $54.95 plus tax if you purchase the PPV in HD. If not, you save $10 as non-HD is $49.95.

In addition, the WEC held its first PPV this spring. It had a price point of $49.95 to view in HD.

To purchase all 10 UFC PPVs in HD would be $549.50. Add on the WEC PPV and you have spent over $600 on PPVs from Zuffa.

In addition to UFC PPVs, there are other MMA PPVs available for purchase. If you don’t have Showtime, you could have purchased the Strikeforce Houston show for $24.95. The upcoming Noons vs. Diaz fight will be available on PPV for $24.95

Shine Fights has an upcoming PPV available for $29.95 on September 10th. On September 11th,  Shark Fights features UFC alums Keith Jardine and Houston Alexander  on PPV. As of today, Direct TV lists Shine Fights available for purchase but not Shark Fights PPV.

Merchandise

Watching the PPVs, you can see many fans with fighter merchandise. Frankie Edgar’s walkout t-shirt from Affliction list price is $57.99. Edgar’s t-shirt is at the top of the price point. Only Rampage Jackson’s walkout t-shirt against Rashard Evans also listed at the astronomical price of $58. BJ Penn’s t-shirt for UFC 118 went for $26.99. Most start at $29.99 and up.

If you are into shorts, fight shorts are available online and range from $49.99 to $69.99.

Tickets

If you want to attend a UFC live, you will need to pay a hefty price.  According to ticketmaster, UFC 118 ticket prices ranged from $75 to $600. MMA Mania has a good look at  the difference between UFC ticket prices for UFC 118 and 119. For the big Velasquez v. Lesnar fight at UFC 120 in Anaheim, the ticket prices range from $92.75 to $527.

In comparison to the PPVs, seats for September 15th’s UFC Ultimate Fight Night on SpikeTV range from $30 to $185.

Payout Perspective

The annual expense of being an MMA fan can put a chokehold on your budget.  For the casual fan, purchasing PPVs will be based on the promotion surrounding the matches (see Toney vs. Couture) and the draw of the fighter (see Chuck Liddell, Brock Lesnar, GSP). With BJ Penn out of the lightweight picture for now, there is debate as to whether Edgar can carry a main event PPV against his next opponent, Gray Maynard. However, I’d expect that the UFC would find compelling storylines in the runup to the fight to sell Edgar vs. Maynard.

Since the evolution of T-Shirt companies like Tapout, the popularity of MMA t-shirts has grown. However, paying $58 for a Frankie Edgar t-shirt is a steep price. It would be interesting to see the sales of Edgar’s shirt versus Penn’s UFC 118 t-shirt. Even though Penn lost, you could have bought two of his t-shirt for the price of one Edgar shirt.

An MMA fan could spend close t0 $1,000 on buying MMA PPVs and a couple t-shirts. If you go to a UFC event, you will spend much more (considering travel, hotel and tickets).

As disposable incomes shrink, MMA fans will become much more frugal with their purchases. This will put a greater emphasis on the quality of PPV and the popularity of the fighter.

Strikeforce MMA DVD Set Cover Unveiled

September 2, 2010

About a month ago, MMAPayout detailed some of Strikeforce’s big plans for the fall, that not only included a big October show, but the release of EA Sports MMA, a new branding strategy, and also the release of their 2 disc DVD set scheduled for October 12.

Payout Perspective:

Strikeforce fans who have been patiently wondering when Strikeforce would be releasing their fights to fans on some form of media will soon get their opportunity.  Amazon.comWalrmatBestBuy and other retailers are now accepting pre-orders for and upcoming 2 disc DVD release titled “Strikeforce MMA”, at the moment starring Alistair Overeem, Fedor Emelienenko, Robbie Lawler, Brett Rogers, Andrei Arlovski, and “Babalu” Sobral will contain 6 hours of content produced by Showtime Entertainment.  The listing price will be around $20-25 dollars and will be releasing on October 12, just a few days after the October 9th San Jose event.  Interesting to note that Jake Shields was set to be featured in the DVD release before he signed to the UFC, so it will be interesting to see how much, if any, focus is placed on him.

WEC 48 DVD Selling Well

August 13, 2010

John Morgan of MMAJunkie recently caught up with WEC General Manager Reed Harris to discuss the up-coming WEC card and talk DVD sales.

“The first step was doing the show, and the WEC pay-per-view in Sacramento was an absolute success,” Harris said. “The DVD has been selling really, really well. It’s got some behind-the-scenes stuff, which is interesting, but also it’s got obviously the (Urijah) Faber and (Jose) Aldo fight.

“The whole event, it put WEC on the map. We were on the map before, but a lot of new eyeballs came to the show.”

Payout Perspective:

The WEC is entering a critical phase in its development. Its first PPV was a roaring success, but it needs to prove that it can sustain and build upon the interest it generated in the Spring. The company received a pass for the television performance of WEC 49, because it was largely expected that stacking Aldo-Faber for the PPV would leave it without many strong draws for an immediate follow-up. Varner vs. Shalorus was a less than compelling, especially in comparison to what fans got at 48.

However, the grace period is now over. The performances of WEC 50 and WEC 51 will be fairly critiqued to gauge how much the PPV accomplished on behalf of the brand in the short term. In other words, these cards should give us an idea of whether or not the WEC is capable of making a significant jump up in popularity or whether it still needs some time to develop its brand and fighters.

Regardless of this immediate outcome, one thing is certain: the boys at the WEC have put together two very strong cards in attempt to sustain the company’s momentum. WEC 50 is a solid card that features a title fight (Cruz and Benavidez) in addition to a host of intriguing match-ups – it could very well be Chad Mendes’ coming out party. WEC 51 is an even more impressive offering that features Aldo vs. Gamburyan and Varner vs. Cerrone, plus the additions of Miguel Torres, Leonard Garcia and Chan Sung Jung.

WEC 50 and 51 are the types of events that should sell. I just hope we see a marketing effort from Zuffa commensurate with the quality of the cards. That means digital promo videos, numerous articles and PR releases, social media promotion through Twitter and Facebook, and even some ad placement on Spike and Versus.

Clinch Gear Joins Strikeforce, Inks Deal with Collective Licensing International

August 9, 2010

Collective Licensing International (CLI) has quietly inked a deal with Dan Henderson’s MMA apparel and gear company, Clinch Gear.  If you recall, CLI also inked a licensing deal with Strikeforce just a few months before, which was announce around the Nashville CBS event which took place on April 17.  Here is an excerpt from the press release:

Collective Licensing International (CLI)  announced their brand partnership and master license agreement with world championship Mixed Martial Arts (MMA) promotion STRIKEFORCE.  The long-term brand partnership agreement provides CLI the rights to license and produce all facets of STRIKEFORCE brand merchandise including, but not limited to, footwear, apparel, accessories and equipment.

CLI plans to elevate the STRIKEFORCE brand through its years of successful action sports and performance athletic brand expertise, innovative marketing initiatives, and extensive retail partnerships.  CLI will bridge the gap between core MMA athletes and worldwide consumers for the first time by bringing the STRIKEFORCE-specific product line further into the youth consumer market with an entirely new product offering. The collaboration with CLI will build the STRIKEFORCE organization into a complete lifestyle and culture brand, securing a commanding role in the fastest growing sport in the world.

In a similar press release announcing a deal between Above The Rim and CLI, Clinch Gear was shown as one of their Brand management/licensing acquisitions:

About Collective Licensing International, LLC Collective Licensing International, a subsidiary of Collective Brands, Inc. (NYSE: PSS), was formed in January 2004 and is the owner and/or license operator of Airwalk(R), Above The Rim(R), Vision Street Wear(R), Clinch Gear(TM), STRIKEFORCE(TM), Sims(R), Lamar(R) and LTD(R), World Snowboarding Championships(TM), genetic(R), Dukes(TM), Rage(R), Ultra-Wheels(R), and Hind(R). Collective Licensing International is based in Englewood, Colorado. www.collectiveintl.com

As to why Collective Licensing International appears to be focusing more on MMA recently, IndustryWatch gives us a great recap on the strategic move:

Consistent with strategic focus on youth sports and lifestyle, CLI recently entered mixed martial art space, fastest growing sport in country. Over 28,000 martial art studios offer training to more than 18m Americans, most of whom purchase equipment and supply. Mixed martial arts viewership in millions. Event attendance is breaking records. CLI signed new master license agreement with leading mixed marital arts promotion co., STRIKEFORCE and acquired Clinch Gear, premier performance apparel equipment brands led by mixed martial arts legend, Dan Henderson. Sees mixed martial arts as growth category for CLI.

Video of the new and improved Clinch Gear office facilities:

Clinch Gear New Promotional video featuring Strikeforce fighters: Dan Henderson, Fedor Emelianenko, Mike Kyle, Bobby Voelker, Cung Le, & Sarah Kaufman plus Bellator fighters: Joe Warren & Bryan Baker.

MMAPayout Perspective:

One of the benefits and main selling points which attributed to Dan Henderso’s exodus from the UFC was having the option to sign with Strikeforce, which has TV partners CBS/Showtime and video game giant EA Sports to use as channels to promote his  apparel and equipment brand, Clinch Gear, outside of the UFC.  Since Henderson’s involvement with CBS and Strikeforce, his apparel line has played a big role in Strikeforce and CBS/Showtime broadcasts, sponsoring the “Strikeforce: Fedor vs Werdum” event by having their brand on the mat and signing top MMA HW Fedor to walk into the cage in a customized Clinch Gear walkout-tee, after a last minute deal fell through between M-1 and Tapout.  Beyond sponsoring key fighters like Fedor Emelianenko and other Team Quest fighters in Strikeforce, Clinch Gear has also expanded their sponsoring efforts by signing fighters in multiple promotions all over the world such as Bellator and DREAM.  The flexibility that Clinch Gear now has to expand and take a bigger role within the MMA landscape outside of the UFC seems to be paying off, but was it the correct decision in the long run?

Does having more visibility within the MMA casual fan base (UFC) but paying Zuffa a sponsorship fee and working to meet their eligible sponsor guidelines or does having more flexibility to expand your business and take a bigger role within the non-Zuffa MMA landscape, which include their partners (Strikeforce, Showtime/CBS, EA Sports) payoff in the long run?  Zuffa appears to be heading towards banning sponsors from participating with other MMA promotions and/or fighters outside of Zuffa who they deem are competitors.  The described situation poses a dilemma and strategic dichotomy for sponsors within the MMA industry, a now common conflict which has reached several boiling points within the past few years (RVCA, Affliction, Tapout, Clinch Gear, Booya, MMA Authentics, etc).  Some brands like Affliction have taken their losses and were able to cut a deal to get back into the UFC, Tapout and RVCA were able to drop their sponsorship deals with Fedor to stay in the UFC’s good graces, and others like Booya, MMA Authentics, and Clinch Gear have been permanently banned from the promotion.

Next Page »