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Tag: sponsorships

Rant of the Day: Nate Quarry Says the UFC ‘Cares Nothing About the Fighters’


(Quarry slugs it out with Jorge Rivera during his final Octagon appearance in March 2010. / Photo via MMAWeekly)

For five years, Nate Quarry was a reliable and entertaining presence in the UFC’s middleweight division. He fought through some incredible brawls, gave us a few laughs, and most of his fights ended in satisfyingly violent fashion, for better or worse.

Quarry retired from MMA two years ago on his own terms. There was no contract dispute, no falling out with the UFC top brass. The TUF 1 veteran stepped away quietly and respectfully, due to concerns about his own health and future. He had no axe to grind.

But on a recent UG thread about the UFC’s upcoming fighter uniforms, Quarry couldn’t hold his tongue any longer, and wrote out a long post about his own experiences with sponsorships during his time in the UFC, and the cold, impersonal way he was treated by the promotion. Whether or not you think the UFC has any obligation to support its fighters beyond their contracted fight-purses, Quarry’s note is worth reading in its entirety. Check it out below, and let us know what you think.

*********

“When I signed with the UFC this is what I was told:

We can’t pay you much but you can have any sponsors you want.

Then: We need to approve your sponsors.

Then: You can’t have any conflicting sponsors.

Then: You can’t thank your sponsors after fights.

Then: We are not approving any sponsors that we don’t like their product.

Then: Your sponsors have to pay us a fee of $50,000 for the pleasure to sponsor you.

Then: Your sponsors have to pay us a fee of $100,000 for the pleasure to sponsor you.

If a sponsor has a budget of 10k to sponsor a fighter, they are then out. If there are 5 shorts companies in the UFC you can only go to them for a sponsorship. If they have spent their budget or don’t want to support an up and coming fighter they give you shorts instead of money. If you’re fighting for $6,000 to show and fighting 3 times a year, even $500 makes a big difference. When there is no competition they don’t have to pay you. I lost And1 as a sponsor when the UFC enacted the tax.

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Bud Light Issues a Warning to the UFC About the Behavior of Their Fighters


(“Fine. I’m going to *respectfully* get on top of my wife, okay?”)

If there’s one thing the UFC has taught us lately, it’s that rape jokes aren’t funny, especially when delivered by people with bad taste and zero comedic ability. So it was only a matter of time before the promotion’s major sponsors started getting uncomfortable. In light of new criticism from watchdog group Alcohol Justice, Anheuser-Busch (Bud Light’s parent company) released a statement warning the UFC to crack down on their employees’ insensitivity. From Advertising Age (via MMAMania):

We’ve communicated to the UFC our displeasure with certain remarks made by some of its fighters, and they have promised to address this. If the incidents continue, we will act,” the brewer said in a statement. A-B, which did not elaborate on potential actions, also stated that it “embraces diversity and does not condone insensitive and derogatory comments rooted in ethnicity, race, religion, sexual orientation, gender identity, disability, etc.”

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Jon Jones Will Be Officially Sponsored by the UFC for His Fight Against Rashad Evans


(Yep, just a couple of bros hangin’ out and drinkin’ Bud. Nothing to see here, folks.)

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.

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CondomDepot.com Loses UFC Ass-Privileges

Chris Leben Condom Depot UFC
(Luckily, Chris Leben has picked up a new sponsor: GerbilDepot.com.)

Zuffa’s lengthy blacklist of companies who aren’t allowed to sponsor fighters just increased by one very notable name. Brace yourself, fans of responsible sex — CondomDepot.com‘s logo will no longer be gracing the backs of any UFC/WEC fighters’ shorts. From CondomDepot marketing director Jennifer Amato, via BloodyElbow:

"Dana White Took Food From The Mouths of Our Sponsored Fighters Just In Time For Christmas! Sorry Spencer, Josh, Gabe, Jake and everyone else…
We have been notified that we have been Banned From the UFC and WEC!
We have provided fighters 100′s of thousands of dollars DIRECTLY over the last 2 years but can no longer do so! Not to mention word came down during AIDS awareness month!!
UFC a Classy Organization runned by an even Classier Guy."

These sponsor-bannings usually result from either personal vendettas (see: Affliction, Dethrone, and RVCA‘s sponsorship of Fedor Emelianenko) or the UFC’s understandable desire to present their brand in the best possible light (see: Hoelzer Reich). It’s not clear if anything hostile happened behind the scenes between CondomDepot and Zuffa, but you have to admit that the phrase "Condom Depot" on a man’s ass was suggestive in a very unfortunate way. Still, fighters have to feed their families, and the UFC doesn’t always make it easy for them to do so.

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Porn Sponsorship Nixed for ‘Saturday Night Fights’

Kimbo Slice and porn chicks
(Sorry Kimbo, that goes for fluffers too.)

Though the fighters involved in EliteXC’s “Saturday Night Fights” event stand to make record amounts of money from sponsorship deals, the way the fighters represent those sponsors is being strictly regulated by CBS. As FiveOuncesofPain reports:

[W]hile fighters can wear hats during their cage-walk entrance, they must wear an EliteXC hat while in the cage during their post-fight interview. The respective corner of a fighter also cannot drape a banner on the inside of the cage. Banners can only be displayed on the outside of the cage and can only advertise the fight camp that the fighter is representing.

Of course, CBS must give their blessing before a sponsor’s name is allowed anywhere in a fighter’s appearance, and not all sponsorships have made the cut. The most prominent 86′ing is that of Reality Kings, the porn web site company that Kimbo Slice used to bodyguard for, and which has had a visible place on Slice’s clothing and signage during his professional fights. As Gary Shaw said during a conference call on Thursday, “We understand what’s socially responsible, and CBS has a very high standard for standards and practices. And every logo we put on or whatever we do goes through CBS in their standards and practices.”

Disassociating MMA from porn is unquestionably a wise decision for this historic broadcast, and we can only hope that Mauro Ranallo has to submit all of his kooky metaphors for approval before the event as well. A girl-on-girl cagefight on national TV is edgy enough. Baby steps, people…

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You Gotta Be Kidding Me: UFC Bans Affliction?

RCA

Over the last few months, we’ve often been surprised at how petty and short-sighted the UFC can be — but if this rumor is true, it represents a new low for Dana White & Co. According to a report on 5thRound.com, the UFC is trying to block the clothing line Affliction from sponsoring its fighters, due to Affliction apparently trying to start its own MMA organization. From the report:

We are still gathering all of the details about this story, but we have been able to confirm it with a couple of people within the MMA community. From what we’re being told, the UFC is no longer allowing the clothing line Affliction to sponsor its fighters…

The word is that the UFC was not happy about Affliction starting their own fighting organization. We currently aren’t sure if Affliction is partnering up with anybody or if they are going about it by themselves, but that was what we were able to confirm with our sources…

The last fighter to actually wear Affliction during an event was Georges St. Pierre at UFC 79 where he sported Affliction on his tights and gi. If you review UFC 80 and Wednesday’s Ultimate Fight Night: Swick vs. Burkman, you’ll notice that Affliction was noticeably absent from any fighter’s apparel.

Not sure how reputable these sources are, but since there’s more than one of them, we’ll put this in the “possibly true” file for now. What makes it more plausible is Affliction’s association with Randy Couture. Couture’s “Xtreme Couture” t-shirt line is a sub-label of Affliction, and if the UFC was petty enough to forbid the wearing of Xtreme Couture gear during Wanderlei Silva’s UFC All Access shoot, then we’d believe they’d try to exert pressure on his parent company by banning Affliction altogether. Of course, what makes this less plausible is that the UFC’s biggest stars — Chuck Liddell and Georges St. Pierre among them — all rep hard for Affliction. The UFC isn’t crazy enough to damage relationships with their last remaining big names over t-shirts. Are they? We’ll update you when we know more…

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