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UFC Cracks Down on More Fighter Sponsors


(The American Kickboxing Academy team poses during a Dethrone Royalty photo shoot. Yes, that is Josh Thomson‘s mean-mug. Photo courtesy of Combat Lifestyle.)

In the future, UFC fighters will only be able to wear Xyience t-shirts and Burger King hats before and after their fights. At least that’s how it seems with the way the UFC has been banning sponsors from the Octagon:

Five Ounces of Pain was able to obtain an e-mail distributed by the UFC’s legal department that now lists Dethrone, One More Round, and Rolling Stone as a list of sponsors that will not be approved for UFC 100 on July 11. Unacceptable sponsors for UFC 100 also online Poker sponsors Full Tilt Poker, Ultimate Bet, and Party Poker.
 
Clothing sponsors that are approved for UFC 100 include Cage Fighter, MMA Authentic, Familia Gladitoria and MMA Elite. The source added that several clothing sponsors have indicated that they were contacted recently by the UFC and informed that in order to have the ability to sponsor a UFC fighter during a UFC-promoted event that they would have to pay a $100,000 fee to the UFC for the right to sponsor a fighter.

Based on the details provided, certain clothing companies may have to pay the UFC an unofficial licensing fee to have the ability to utilize the UFC’s telecasts to market their product. All sources contacted for this article expressed a great deal of concern regarding their ability to generate income for their fighters.

Okay, I get the Dethrone thing — the MMA apparel brand is associated with AKA‘s fighters, and the UFC is probably still salty over the video game likeness rights debacle. But Rolling Stone just made its debut at UFC 99, MMA Authentics was supposed to be dead to the UFC…and how are you going to steal One More Round from poor old Stitch? Don’t tell me he’s thinking of starting a rival MMA league.

Unfortunately, we don’t have any details as to why each brand is on the blacklist. Obviously this sucks for the fighters who are just trying to make a living, some of whom will probably have to scramble to find new sponsors for the July 11th show. (The long-suffering Jon Fitch, for example.) And that $100,000 fee thing? Ballsy, guys. We’ll see if anybody’s stupid enough to pay it, but that seems like a cruelly effective way for the UFC to shut out certain brands without actually telling them "you can’t sponsor our fighters because we don’t like you on a personal level."

Comments

  1. AntonG420 Says:

    Thu, 06/25/09 - 07:45


    Um no, its just another way for them to make revenue. Everyone knows this will draw epic pay-per-view buys so those companies will likely put up the loot. Or someone else will.
  2. El Famous Burrito Says:

    Thu, 06/25/09 - 07:50


    Tell Bruce Buffer he won a Cage Potato Caption Contest, and see if he'l wear the free T-shirt that night.
  3. El Famous Burrito Says:

    Thu, 06/25/09 - 07:50


    Or send me there, and I'll get on TV somehow.
  4. LoneWolf Says:

    Thu, 06/25/09 - 07:53


    Thats so BS....the ufc pays shit compared to other sports and now they are taking away more of these fighters livelihoods? Why stop there they should start claiming the fighters first newborns, maybe go all Braveheart on them and claim the right to bang there wives the first night they are married. This is totally effed.
  5. Polish Says:

    Thu, 06/25/09 - 08:00


    Lonewolf, my thoughts as well.
  6. Fight Fan Says:

    Thu, 06/25/09 - 08:00


    These busy little t-shirts with the wings and skulls are the joke of MMA. What the hell is the world coming to?
  7. MMAMoneyLine Says:

    Thu, 06/25/09 - 08:05


    Isn't Matt Hughes a big part of OMR? That's a pretty shitty thing to do to a guy who has been the picture of loyalty in the UFC.
  8. Capt. Shamrock Says:

    Thu, 06/25/09 - 08:11


    The last time I saw Dana White on TV, he was wearing a Rolling Stone T-Shirt. Sounds like a deal gone sour to me
  9. Nut Puncher 9000 Says:

    Thu, 06/25/09 - 08:20


    Ok Granted, these sponsors are paying fighters, but they are using the UFC to market their products for no compensation to the UFC directly. The UFC pays for the arena. The UFC pays for the PPV television. The UFC pays Spike TV. The UFC pays doctors, refs, security, and judges. The UFC pays for the promotion and all that is involved in any event where these companies leach free advertisement by paying the employees of the UFC and not the UFC itself. ***AND IT DOESNT MATTER HOW MUCH THE UFC MAKES*** That is the beauty of Capitalism, you can profit as much as possible from what you do. Now ask yourself again if its fair...
  10. MyFightWiffaCheeto Says:

    Thu, 06/25/09 - 08:29


    One More Round was one of the few decent clothing companies. Not like four hundred chains with flaming skulls hanging off it. Well, whatever, pay up if you wanna promote.
  11. MyFightWiffaCheeto Says:

    Thu, 06/25/09 - 08:30


    and I thought Cage Fighter had a falling out because of their deal with Wal-Mart or whatever?
  12. LoneWolf Says:

    Thu, 06/25/09 - 08:32


    Nut Puncher 9000 I totally agree with your capitalism sentiment. But there is always a fine line between that and whats right.....you're speaking in the perspective of the Organization...and unfortunately not the fighter. I agree they should have a right to reap some of the benefits that the sponsors are gaining from them....but at the end of the day they are still siphoning dollars from the fighters in there "ultimatum" style pitches....why not just require all sponsors to pay a percentage of what they pay the fighters to the UFC or something along the lines of a one time fee, or how about a fee per PPP rather than such a huge amount all at once...I'm sure most of these sponsors that are just starting off might not have that kind of capital. Unfortunately at the end of the day, people have a right to earn and the UFC's monopoly is hurting fighters income.
  13. MyFightWiffaCheeto Says:

    Thu, 06/25/09 - 08:33


    WTF is with the goddamn ad for the Church of Latter Day Saints??? I mean they are fucking crazy those Mormons but I think I can get behind polygyny. You trying to convert us Ben(s)?
  14. shitbag Says:

    Thu, 06/25/09 - 08:36


    I SEE THE FUTURE: Strikeforce becomes a very strong #2 MMA promotion in the world. Stupid shit like this from the UFC will only help them. If you're a fighter, why the fuck are you going to stay with the UFC, when you can go to Strikeforce and end up making more money overall with sponsorships and competitive to show/win money. You think any of those 100K lisencing fees are going to the fighters? You think fighters and their mangement teams like that? I swear, the UFC is on it's way to becoming the McDonald's of MMA. Strikeforce already has a lot of really good talent, and when Affliction folds, where do you think Fedor is going to fight in the US? Fedor vs. Overeem will probably happen next year then. All of Affliction's HWs will end up in Strikeforce. Why the fuck would they want to deal with Dana?? - They wont, and now with this sponsership bullshit, they know they might make more money in Strikeforce. Tito and Babalu will probably fight in Strikeforce, and you have Curano vs. Cyborg. So fine, the UFC can be the big dicks, the McDonalds. Once Strikforce starts getting on CBS they'll claim a good sizeable market share, they won't ever be able to topple the UFC and won't even be able to try (and wisely so), but at least there will be a viable alternative to fighters and fans who are sick of seeing Dana's ugly bald mug EVERYWHERE.
  15. agentsmith Says:

    Thu, 06/25/09 - 08:41


    Yet after all the shit Xyience pulled, they're all good with the UFC.
  16. C-Bus Allstar Says:

    Thu, 06/25/09 - 08:49


    Lmao... I can see this order coming STRAIGHT out of Dana White's mouth. In the beginning, I liked his straight-talking ways, but nowadays, all we seem to hear about is how bad DW is fucking the fighters of the UFC. And now this nonsense? Does he not realise that is the kind of thing that will drive fighters and fans alike away from the UFC? Hopefully the Fertitta's have a little more sense than DW. Otherwise, we could see the Epic rise of Strikeforce, REALLY soon.
  17. GarethUFC Says:

    Thu, 06/25/09 - 08:54


    this makes baby jesus cry
  18. Nut Puncher 9000 Says:

    Thu, 06/25/09 - 08:58


    @lonewolf the UFC is responsible for creating the environment where these athletes even have an oppurtunity to earn a living fighting. They deserve the right to request fees from sponsors seeking to leach Advertising off of the UFC and its events. The fighters have no room to complain either, if it wasnt for the UFC, they wouldnt be fighting for any kind of living.
  19. meanfinger Says:

    Thu, 06/25/09 - 08:59


    ya thats kinda weird about xyience.. i thought BSN was the official brand of supplements for the ufc.
  20. Swedish Says:

    Thu, 06/25/09 - 08:59


    idots of this site.... During the Superbowl companies pay MILLIONS for a 30 second add. Charging 100k is not that bad. Get over it all your CP marketing geniuses. and Ben(s), stop hating on the UFC for running a business. You have ZERO clue how to it. You must be an Obama supporter
  21. shitbag Says:

    Thu, 06/25/09 - 09:01


    @Swedish we have all seen the light you have shown us. Of course, it all answers are in politics! Being a liar, cheating, talking tough like a fool! Of course, that's what it's all about!! Wow, sign me up to become a republican, or democrat, or whatever it is you think actually does something. Wow, politics is awesome!
  22. meanfinger Says:

    Thu, 06/25/09 - 09:02


    im sure xyience has a huge contract with ufc tho.. i heard they filed for bankruptcy last year. so im guessin ufc jumped ship over to bsn. but they're still milkin the xyience cow.. or they're just tryin to use up tha million t shirts that came in the deal
  23. King_KP Says:

    Thu, 06/25/09 - 09:04


    Swedish, although your statement about how much money companies may pay to have their adds displayed during the Superbowl might be true, I don't think people are arguing about Dana's/the UFC's right to make money off of sponsors. I think that the heart of the argument lies in the fact that fighters themselves are seeing very little recompense. Those football players competing in the Superbowl make more in that one game than most mixed martial artists will in a year. Similarly, to insinuate that any MMA event ever has received as much publicity or is anywhere near as widely watched as the Superbowl is just plain silly. One more thing, are we talking about paying $100k for a 30 second commercial, or are we talking about $100k to let three fighters wear a t-shirt out to the cage.
  24. LoneWolf Says:

    Thu, 06/25/09 - 09:05


    Ehh....not even worth it....
  25. Dubbayoo Says:

    Thu, 06/25/09 - 09:06


    I care about the fighters' finances as much as they care about mine. None. Look out for #1, and don't worry about these guys. They don't worry about you. worst case scenario maybe some of these guys do go to strikeforce, which would be more affordable than ufc ppv anyway (unless u watch it for free online). But if they don't, there must be a reason as to why they stick with the evil UFC.
  26. LoneWolf Says:

    Thu, 06/25/09 - 09:06


    @King_KP Exactly, thank you!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
  27. shitbag Says:

    Thu, 06/25/09 - 09:10


    This is what the so called "capitalists" don't understand: Fighters are also capitalists. Fans are also capitalists. Both groups do not have to be a part of the UFC. Actions like this can drive both groups away. Tough shit if you don't like it or are enamoured with Dana's cock.
  28. timewaster Says:

    Thu, 06/25/09 - 09:23


    I think "once" affliction done after their next event, Strikeforce will jump the wagon and pull almost all of the fighters from there. they already have cross organization fights, and their contracts are not as biased and 1 sided as UFC contracts are.. so any fighter would rather have the flexibility of strikeforce contracts with less amount of money then UFC contracts, oh wait ... strikeforce pays more then UFC lol.. so logically if UFC does not change its strategy as a business, they are doomed in the long run.
  29. Jay Smith Says:

    Thu, 06/25/09 - 09:25


    100 G's just seems a little steep.
  30. Dakyn Says:

    Thu, 06/25/09 - 09:42


    The amount of control the UFC imposes on it's fighters is insane.
  31. Sho Nuff Says:

    Thu, 06/25/09 - 09:43


    Makes sense to me, whether I like it or not. It's the UFC's broadcast and they want their piece of any advertising taking place, just like any other professional sport or show. Every sponsor on a car or driver in Nascar has to pay for the right to sponsor. Advertising is a for-profit model, being angry that the UFC doesn't want to give it away is a bit naive.
  32. Mike Milbury Says:

    Thu, 06/25/09 - 09:46


    Well, it could be just for UFC 100, but knowing the UFC, they'll strong-arm these sponsors for the foreseeable future. On a lighter note, god, those photo shoots are lame. I can just imagine the photographer: "Okay fighters, stand beside each other in this body shop looking mean. Oh, and here's this tire. Stand behind it."
  33. averagejoe Says:

    Thu, 06/25/09 - 09:56


    Good comments all around. I don't have a problem with the UFC seeking revenue for advertising - to a point. They sell signs on the octagon, and have Buffer weave movie plots into the pre-fight intros, they have sponsored replays, and the whole thing costs money to watch on PPV. That's all good, it's all their stuff, they should be able to sell it. But to tell a fighter what kind of t-shirt he can wear to walk out and fight? I get restrictions on tshirts banning profanity, etc., but actually saying which brands are approved on the fighter's own clothing?!? that crosses the line, especially because framing the issue as "approved sponsors" allows them to control the fighters without bargaining for that control through a contractual agreement. Smells like power gone wild.
  34. ecimmortal Says:

    Thu, 06/25/09 - 10:04


    Hey morons! What other major sports franchise allows it's athlete's to wear whatever it wants during competition?
  35. Mike Milbury Says:

    Thu, 06/25/09 - 10:13


    @ecimmortal: True, but even the biggest scrub in the major sports is making good coin (A 4th bench rider in the NHL makes minimum $500,000 to mostly hang out in the press box). In the UFC, what about the dude who's making like $5000 to fight every few months?
  36. Sheps Says:

    Thu, 06/25/09 - 10:18


    For the number 1 MMA organisation in the western world, the UFC sure do treat their fighters like shit. Eventually it will come back to bite them in the ass. Theres nothing more satisfying than seeing Dana White broke and homeless, like he had done to many a fighter who thought they had a 3 fight deal, paid a whole bunch of shit to get in shape just for the UFC, only to get their ass kicked to the curb one fight later.
  37. NateGetsIrate Says:

    Thu, 06/25/09 - 10:25


    Where would the Rocky's of today be if they weren't able to advertise their own "Shamrock Meats, Inc." on their purple robes (or t-shirts)? Not everyone can get Xyience to sponsor them. Or at least cut them a fair deal, if they do.
  38. Best_Blank_Ever Says:

    Thu, 06/25/09 - 10:35


    @Nut Puncher 9000. Yes, this is the way of capitalism. However, the way of capitalism is also that those who are greedy eventually get punished by the free market. History is littered with companies that were big, got greedy, and got killed by their competitors. And if the UFC continues to bleed other companies looking to make a living, eventually, those companies will turn on the UFC and support other organizations. The UFC is sure throwing its weight around considering only 8 years ago they weren't on pay per view, and 5 years ago they weren't on television. They are on a meteoric rise, but how will they maintain that? By building relationships with the companies and fighters that help make it possible. If they're going for the quick payday now, so be it. But if they want to build for the long term, they should quit alienating fighters, product sponsors, and others whom they will need down the road. Just because you can, doesn't mean you should. Don't be surprised if in 5 years Dana White is out of a job, and the Fertittas are begging everyone to give them another chance while some other upstart company is the king of MMA.
  39. 831 Son Says:

    Thu, 06/25/09 - 10:37


    This is dumb. The sponsors provide alot of the fighters' income whether they lose, win, or draw. Those people that make 5k to show up and fight deserve the right to show off a couple sponsors. Dana shouldn't be pulling fag shit like this.
  40. Armbreaker Says:

    Thu, 06/25/09 - 10:37


    Once again the UFC overreaches and interferes with the ability of fighters to make a decent living. Could it be that Dana wants the fighters to be completely dependent on him and the UFC? Is this just another means of controlling the fighters?
  41. T Rex Says:

    Thu, 06/25/09 - 10:39


    I don't like this at all. Not at all. It's like the fucking thought police. It's unfair for the UFC to ban any sponsor from the UFC. What purpose does it serve? Fledgling companies may end up folding if they're not allowed to get exposure from UFC events. Honestly, if the UFC wants to prove that they're the best in the business. They should allow fighters any sponsor they want. I can understand approving fighter T-Shirts and the like, but to completely ban whole companies is another story. If Dana White really wants to shit on Tom Atencio's chest, he should allow Affliction shirts back in the cage.
  42. gracie_nuthugger Says:

    Thu, 06/25/09 - 10:58


    How do you spell douchebags? U-F-C. They pay guys like Jardine 14,000$ to fight on main cards, fuck with them any chance they get (hey Fitch!) and the only steady source of income these guys usually have are their sponsors, so why not fuck with that too? Oh well, I guess they will in return get more publicity on magazine covers. Oh wait, Im sorry... the UFC doesnt promote their fighters on magazine covers, they instead have aerobic instructors try to act tough on covers (your thumb goes on the outside when you make a fist Dona). I dont care about brand and marketing, all I care about is seeing good fights and that the fighters get treated well for the work they do. And as much as the ball lickers here would just want one organization, I hope that for this latest (and the previous) reasons, that the other orgs like Strikeforce and Affliction and Bellator do well. Monopolies never serve anybody except the monopolists.
  43. Kazi Says:

    Thu, 06/25/09 - 11:07


    Yeah this is typical UFC bullshit. Other than sponsorships, how else are fighters supposed to supplement their shitty UFC pay?
  44. Mike Milbury Says:

    Thu, 06/25/09 - 11:51


    @Kazi: Day jobs. Seriously. And train when they're not working. I'd much rather see these guys make a living solely on doing what they love, but that's life.
  45. Fiction Says:

    Thu, 06/25/09 - 11:52


    @ Swedish, Uhhhh, the average cost of a 30 second ad during the superbowl was $800,000. 97 million people watched the superbowl this year, and an average of ~90 million people have watched over the past ten years. Today we salute you, CP resident Math Genius Swedish. Ignoring all factual, statistical, and common sense data, only you would think reaching 1% of the superbowl's audience for 1/8 the price is "not bad". Im sure your thriving lemonade stand at $8 dollars a cup is a big success. Douchebag.
  46. Endocat Says:

    Thu, 06/25/09 - 11:57


    To the guy that said if it wasn't for the UFC then these people wouldnt have a way to make a living. If it wasn't for the fighters leaving there blood and sweat in that cage the "UFC" wouldn't exist
  47. munche Says:

    Thu, 06/25/09 - 12:19


    UFC is much more lenient then well, any other sport when it comes to fighter sponsors. You don't see any other major sports where players just come in with any thing they want on their jersey. While it sucks, it seems like they're targeting specific brands that are either quite large or using UFC fighters a LOT (like Dethrone) to promote their products. It's not like they're saying that fighters can't have their Joe Blow Chevrolet ads or whatever. It's big ticket sponsors who are trying to sneak in some cheap/free ads. There's a lot of outrage on the internet about it, but really, there are very few guys who are complaining about their pay, and it's not like they don't have other choices. Plus, if they were fighting in Dream or Strikeforce, the big ticket sponsors wouldn't be interested because they weren't getting the exposure of UFC. Having even fought in the UFC once adds insta-cred to your gym where you're selling memberships, your instructional tapes, and any random t-shirts/whatever you decide to lend your likeness to. It's also interesting that in the same thread people will comment that MMA fighters don't get paid enough compared to MMA fighters, and then note that the superbowl gets 100x the amount of viewers of a big MMA event. There are a million different orgs to fight for, and that's why these fighters have managers to determine the pros and cons of each.
  48. thebloc Says:

    Thu, 06/25/09 - 12:22


    this is fucking ridiculous. If i get this right, the UFC has found a way to turn the fighter sponsors into UFC sponsors and if they dont agree to their demands they just ban em....wow...just ..wow.
  49. Nut Puncher 9000 Says:

    Thu, 06/25/09 - 12:53


    @endocat Really, those fighters were 40 million in debt trying to get MMA on the map? /PimpSmack
  50. Fiction Says:

    Thu, 06/25/09 - 01:16


    @munche While i agree with most of what you said, your first statement isnt really fair. Most non-team / single person sports (think golf,boxing,tennis etc.) you DO see people wearing whatever they want / whatever sponsors they want as long as its not offensive. Of course you're not going to see team sports (NFL, Football, MLB) advertising on jerseys. Those owners OWN the stadiums. They advertise PLENTY. Compounded by the fact that the average MINIMUM salary of any of the major team sports in america is DOUBLE most of the best paid MMA Fighters in the UFC... the individuals dont NEED to advertise for themselves. Theyve made their money just for making the cut.
  51. dbiggles Says:

    Thu, 06/25/09 - 02:39


    Every time i start to like Dana White he does some shit like this. This is taking money out of the fighters pockets, who is going to pay a fighter to wear their clothes if no one is going to see it chickenshits especially Dana the Dictator they must love to fuck fighters over, if they were smart they would all go to japan
  52. BallPtPenTheif Says:

    Thu, 06/25/09 - 02:49


    I wonder how Mask's funeral went down... DANA: Hey, skyscrape how you holding on? SKYSCRAPE: Good bro. You know it's just crazy, one minute you're hanging with your dog and the next minute he dies in his Furrari. DANA: Oh, I forgot to mention. You guys need to get your shit together and pay me $100,000 if Tapout wants to continue sponsoring fighters in the UFC. SKYSCRAPE: ...... DANA: Get better, and the punch is fucking great.
  53. Mike Milbury Says:

    Thu, 06/25/09 - 03:26


    To be fair, who says the $100,000 was Dana's idea? Could have just as well been the Ferittas' idea. And it's not like the $$$ is going straight into Dana's hands.
  54. Maitreyan disciple Says:

    Thu, 06/25/09 - 05:43


    Way to own Swedish, that was well played.
  55. Dmonicideals Says:

    Thu, 06/25/09 - 07:23


    A fighter is going to sue the UFC over this. A manager, someone, but the UFC IS going to catch its first lawsuit.
  56. Chri534. Says:

    Fri, 06/26/09 - 12:30


    I skipped over everything in the comments, but my take on the message being sent as: Do you see the guys in the MLB or the NFL wearing their own ads on shit? This ain't the little leagues anymore...sponsors need to be corporate approved. Maybe not the best example, but even Nascar restricts their sponsors, so I guess now we're as legitimate as a bunch of inbred hicks as far as sports fans go. Whether it's right or wrong, it seems the UFC is trying to obtain the right to control as much as they can. Which I think is smart. ...There are strong questions of ethics and morals, and it probably sucks for the fighters right now...but what are you gonna do, go start a bright and promising career with Affliction?
  57. just some dong Says:

    Fri, 06/26/09 - 03:10


    The UFC is fucking awesome. Period. It's the whole fucking show. They can do whatever the Christ they want for all I care, as long as they don't stop putting on the best fights on the planet. I'll never say a bad word about them until something major occurs that affects me as a fan. This is such a behind the scenes move I couldn't care less.
  58. Fighter sponsorships | Familybateman Says:

    Wed, 08/10/11 - 03:03


    [...] UFC Cracks Down on More Fighter Sponsors | CagepotatoJun 25, 2009 … Clothing sponsors that are approved for UFC 100 include Cage Fighter, MMA Authentic, Familia Gladitoria and MMA Elite. … [...]
  59. Why Does UFC & Fighters Struggle with Sponsors? - Sherdog Mixed Martial Arts Forums Says:

    Sat, 06/30/12 - 03:29


    [...] to sponsor a fighter? I could only imagine what it's like to put an ad on the mat / posts. UFC Cracks Down on More Fighter Sponsors | | Cagepotato Additional clothing sponsors added to UFC’s banned list : Five Ounces of Pain [...]
  60. Why Does UFC & Fighters Struggle with Sponsors? - Page 2 - Sherdog Mixed Martial Arts Forums Says:

    Sat, 06/30/12 - 04:39


    [...] [...]
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