After Form Athletics went out of business late last year, Jon Jones lost his primary clothing sponsor. But he’s found an unprecedented solution for his UFC 145 title match against Rashad Evans, and it underscores just how much faith the UFC has in their light-heavyweight champion. As Jones explained to MMAWeekly:
“I’ve had a goal of being sponsored by Nike for many, many years. Part of our strategy to try and make that happen one day is to not be a billboard, and not just be sponsored by TapouT one week, and Affliction one week, and then MusclePharm next week, and all these random companies. If you realize, I try to look for relationships with companies, long lasting relationships with companies. So a part of my brand is to keep it clean. Less is more in my opinion.
When Form Athletics went down pretty much every company in the business was looking for an opportunity to work with me, and I was really honored just to be wanted like that. I thought it was really awesome, it was a real honor. We came up with a strategy to keep it clean and be sponsored by the UFC itself. I’m glad the UFC wanted to work with me as well, and I think that they trust that I’ll never make them look bad. You never have to worry about me with a DWI or doing something crazy.
I think I’m a good company guy. The UFC asks me to do anything and I always do it, and I never tell them no for anything…They put in the deal that if any mainstream companies come after this win that they will let me go, and I think that’s awesome.”
As the MMAWeekly report puts it, “for his fight at UFC 145, Jones will be decked head to toe in UFC gear, pushing their brand instead of another company.” Interesting. I wonder how Rashad will feel that night, knowing he’s facing an official representative of the company. Still, I’d like to see the UFC directly sponsor more of their fighters — if only so we can get a better sense of who the promotion likes and doesn’t like.