(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."