It’s fair to say that Reebok’s introduction as the UFC’s first ever clothing sponsor hasn’t gone smoothly so far, but they may just have made one of their biggest blunders to date with an ill-conceived ‘UFC Ireland Map’ t-shirt.
It doesn’t seem like such a bad idea in theory, particularly with UFC Fight Night 76 taking place in Dublin this very weekend, but what’s landed the company in hot water is that their map only includes the Republic Of Ireland, with Northern Ireland completely missing from the design.
That’s a huge faux-pas in that neck of the woods and has resulted in a massive backlash not only from outraged fans, but even from Conor McGregor and Joseph Duffy’s coach John Kavanagh despite the fact that his SBG gym had just announced a sponsorship with Reebok earlier in the week.
“Only seeing this now,” Kavanagh wrote on Twitter. “Its about the dumbest idea i’ve ever seen. working on it. An incredibly insensitive stupid divisive idea. Its removed by the end of the day or SBG is gone. I expect a sincere apology to Irish fans.”
Reebok were no doubt mortified by the reaction to their error and quickly pulled down the offending t-shirt and penned an apology to fans.
“We sincerely apologise for the offence caused by the UFC Ireland t-shirt. This was a design error and has now been removed,” Reebok wrote on their Twitter account.
Reebok just can’t seem to win for losing so far with the UFC. They received a very rocky reception initially due to many fighters voicing their discontent at the terms of the deal which removed their opportunity to get third party sponsors in the cage while paying them a relatively small amount of money in return.
The unveiling of the company’s line of UFC apparel was then met with a muted response from fans aside from much laughter at the fact that they’d misspelled several fighters names, including the now infamous ‘Giblert Melendez’ t-shirt.