Ten days after Strikeforce: Fedor vs. Rogers went down in Chicago last November, ZUFFA banned RVCA from sponsoring any UFC or WEC fighter. Apparently it was a knee-jerk reaction to Fedor appearing on CBS rocking this little outfit inside the Sears Centre. Dan Henderson’s Clinch Gear line was also banned shortly after UFC 105 (which happened exactly a week after Fedor’s Strkeforce debut).
This week, it appears that TapouT has abruptly removed their signature Fedor shirt from the website. Earlier this week, the shirt could be accessed at this link but has been removed from the online inventory within the past 48 hours. Bummer for anyone that wanted to snatch up this soon to be collector’s item. [Source]
Update: Pedro from BJ Penn.com gives us the reason why TapouT pulled the shirt, and yes, UFC is involved:
Initially, Fedor Emelianenko, the number one heavyweight fighter in the world, secured a deal to sport the always growing and ever popular “TapOut” clothing line at this weekend’s Strikeforce events.
However, during my time here in San Jose, while spending time with very legitimate sources close to the situation, I was advised that certain parties within the UFC halted TapOuts participation in the event and threatened a UFC lifetime ban, if Emelianenko came out wearing their line.
Similarly, In Fedor’s last outing he came out wearing the ever popular RVCA clothing line which resulted in the UFC’s temporary ban from the Orange County based lifestyle Apparel Company. We witnessed evidence of said ban when UFC star BJ Penn did not come out in his traditional RVCA gear during his title fight against Frankie Edgar.
RVCA has since made amends and as is now Octagon worthy once again. However TapOut was apparently not willing to take on the same gamble as their Orange County counterpart and pulled the deal from Fedor, just days before Strikeforce goes live.
In an industry monopolized by the UFC, getting banned from their fighters is a huge blow to any company trying to make it to the big stage. Tap Out opted to keep their relationship with the UFC intact and the Russian based M-1 management team secured the deal with Dan Henderson’s Clinch Gear.
In a moment of sheer irony that could only be appreciated by climbing your nearest mountain and screaming at the top of your lungs, Clinch Gear is now creating Fedor’s official walk-out shirt and shorts for tomorrow’s bout.