The UFC has stopped fighters from having apparel sponsors on their fight gear. However that has done nothing to prevent the promotion from making money themselves, by putting Cyrpto.com branding on fighter’s gear.
Earlier this year, the UFC began its second apparel deal, switching from Reebok to Venum, which provide fight gear and apparel for athletes to wear during fight week. These deals have prevented the fighters from securing their own sponsorships, leading to beef with athletes spanning all the way back to 2015.
Despite the fact that fighters are unable to wear sponsors on their fight gear, the promotion themselves have signed a branding deal with Crypto.com. According to reports, the cryptocurrency’s website logo will appear on fight gear, with the athletes receiving no portion of the reportedly $175 million payout, which is being heralded as one of the most lucrative deals the promotion has ever signed.
“This is a partnership between two companies that are the best at what they do,” UFC president Dana White said in a news release.
“No company has done more to grow the popularity of combat sports than UFC, and now we’re one of the biggest sports brands on the planet. We can help Crypto.com reach more people around the world through the strength of our brand.”
Crypto . com is now UFC’s first-ever global “Official Fight Kit Partner,” per a release. Crypto . com will have their branding on UFC uniforms worn by fighters, as well as uniforms worn by cornermen/women.
No word in the release what %, if any, of this deal goes to fighters. pic.twitter.com/UjPfvjtGaw
— Ariel Helwani (@arielhelwani) July 7, 2021
The UFC Is Screwing Over The Fighters Again
This latest branding deal with the UFC and Crypto.com is just the most recent stop in a long line of the promotion giving the fighters the short end of the stick. With no portion of the nine figure deal going to the fighters, it is hard not to feel bad for the fighters.
When they introduced the initial Reebok deal, Dana White made it clear that they wanted to clean up the sport from looking like Nascar, with a ton of sponsors labeling fight gear. It is then ironic that the Octagon is littered with as much ads as possible, and the promotion is now benefitting from putting branding on the fighter’s gear.
At the end of the day, this clearly points to the fact that it was only ever about the UFC wanting money from the sponsors fighters had, and not anything else. Unfortunately until some sort of unionization happens, things like this will continue.