This Could Be Trouble

Yesterday the UFC announced a partnership with Reebok.  This partnership allows Reebok to be an official for the UFC and puts to an end fighters being walking billboards for any other sponsor than Reebok.  This reminds me of the recent move by the NFL to ban players from wearing Beats By Dre headphones during interviews due to the NFL's partnership with Bose.  This move by the NFL has been criticized by players and commentators alike, and this move may end up having a worse affect.

This is due to the fact that NFL players can't wear headphones while they are playing the game.  NFL players have a uniform that they have to wear that has to look a certain way specified by the team.  NFL players have been reprimanded and fined for writing messages on their shoes, and even wearing the wrong colour of shoes.  Fighters in the UFC don't have such uniform requirement.  The UFC requires that fighters wear shorts, no shirts unless you are a woman, and no shoes while fighting in the ring.  There are no specific regulations specifying a specific colour or style of uniform that fighters must wear in the UFC, outside of needing to wear shorts and a shirt approved by the commission if you are a woman.  This lack of specificity has allowed UFC fighters to make themselves walking billboards for any number of different companies and causes.  For example:

The current UFC Flyweight Champion Demetrious Johnson is currently sponsored by Xbox.

The current UFC Light Heavyweight Champion Jon Jones is sponsored by Xyience.

This is a picture of Former UFC Middleweight Champion Anderson Silva.  Behind him you can see a banner that is typically unfurled during fighter introductions.  On this particular banner you can see ads for many sponsors, including Burger King and Nike.

All of these sponsorship opportunities has the potential of being stripped away because of the new partnership between the UFC and Reebok, and, as a result, so does a potential moneymaking venture for all of the UFC fighters.  This is a problem since the average fighter makes, on average, $64,833.33 per fight.  Since fighters also have to pay trainers, traveling expenses, as well as for their own lodging, that amount can quickly get eaten away.  This partnership with Reebok has the potential of making being a UFC fighter more of a pure passion as opposed to a money making opportunity.

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