The UFC sent shockwaves through the MMA world yesterday (Tues., December 2, 2014) when they announced a lucrative six-year partnership with athletic apparel giant Reebok to provide mandatory uniforms for fighters starting at International Fight Week in July 2015.
The uniform policy will revolve around merchandise “kits” for each fighter that will be distributed to their entire teams at the outset of each fight week. The uniforms will come with pre-determined sponsors and will pay fighters a set amount of income based on their ranking on the day of weigh-ins.
Fighters will also receive a 20 percent revenue cut based on how well their respective merchandise kit sells. So while the deal promises to provide certain sponsorship dollars for lesser-known fighters trying to rise up in UFC, it will also effectively put an end to fighters finding their own sponsors who offer varying degrees of revenue and advertising.
As is usually the case with any overarching change, the plan should have positive and negative aspects. The true lasting ramifications will obviously take a decent amount of time to figure out, but on the surface, the uniform deal with Reebok will immediately impact the UFC in a few key ways.
Let’s examine some of the major changes and how they could affect the MMA landscape for years to come.