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UFC-Themed Crap to Invade Retail Outlets


(Breathtaking.)

Apparently, action figures were just the beginning. According to a news release on UFC.com:

[F]ans of the Ultimate Fighting Championship will soon be able to collect Jakks Pacific UFC figures, use UFC-branded Bic lighters and Silver Buffalo watches, shop with a UFC credit card, and pick up UFC apparel at JC Penney stores…

Already, UFC-branded Bic lighters are hitting retail shelves, and after April’s ‘soft’ launch of UFC t-shirts at 450 JC Penney stores, the retailer will create “UFC Hot Zones” in August that will sell shirts and headwear in the Young Men’s department. Silver Buffalo, which has developed licensed products for such brands as WWE, Elvis Presley, Led Zeppelin, Bob Marley, and Kiss, will come on board this summer with UFC-branded watches, barware, bar accessories, lighting, wall décor, and billiards and darts accessories, and on June 15th, US Bank launches its UFC VISA card with no annual fee and the option to receive points for UFC merchandise…

There are also going to be more than a few happy faces when official UFC action figures hit major retailers such as Wal-Mart, Target, K-Mart, and Toys R Us in Fall of 2009. Expected in this launch will be Chuck “The Iceman” Liddell, Forrest Griffin, Brock Lesnar, Antonio “Minotauro” Nogueira, Michael “The Count” Bisping and UFC Middleweight Champion Anderson “The Spider” Silva. Octagon playsets and role-play items based on the UFC brand and its classic and current roster of star fighters are also planned.

On the one hand, I’m really looking forward to the day when the checkout girl at the grocery store asks me “debit or credit,” and I slam down my customized UFC Visa card with the image of Joe Stevenson‘s bloody face and say “What the fuck do you think?” But I’m also growing increasingly wary of the “WWE-ization” of MMA’s most prominent organization.

Let’s talk about those action figures, which seem like a clear ploy to attract more kids to the Octagon. As the UFC begins to more prominently use individual fighters to push merchandise, the “character” aspects of each fighter will likely be amped up. Who do they have rivalries with? Can any of them be marketed as bad guys? What are their “signature moves”? You create action figures for action heroes, not regular guys, and the UFC’s fighters may one day be under more pressure to fulfill certain roles. Dude, “Octagon playsets”? This has pro wrestling written all over it, and it sucks.

Maybe I’m just reacting to how cheesy some of this stuff sounds, like “role-play items based on the UFC brand and its classic and current roster of star fighters.” Does this mean we can expect a new UFC module for the latest version of D&D? (“Wanderlei Silva melee attack beats your armbar saving throw!”) We’ll stick to LARPing, thanks. And does “classic roster of star fighters” mean they can still put Tito Ortiz‘s image on posters without paying him?

Anyway, brace yourselves. You thought the Affliction-shirt-wearing meatheads were bad? Wait until a horde of unironic-trucker-hat wearing NASCAR fans start swarming the JC Penney “UFC Hot Zones” for their Brock Lesnar shot glasses. Who knows if this little fad called MMA can survive it…

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Eugene- June 11, 2008 at 5:39 pm
People need to see the 1/8th inch tattoo before you get complaints.
KG- June 11, 2008 at 5:08 am
Whats so bad about barbed wire tribal tattoos? I have a 8 inch one that go around the shaft of my penis.. no one has complained yet.
Jeff- June 11, 2008 at 4:58 am
shitwhistle you FUCKER!
shitwhistle- June 11, 2008 at 3:25 am
No, Jeff, that would be dope-y.
Also, I talked to your ex-girlfriend.... she said you've always kept it short. Zing. Zang. Zung.
I kid, I kid. luv ya bro.
Jeff- June 11, 2008 at 2:11 am
I'll try to keep it short.

I think this is a stupid move, it makes the UFC look white trashey. The exception would be the action figures, only I wish they were advertised and designed as collectible commemorative figurines. I think it would be sweet to have the basic set of fighters and then limited edition champion figurines that they make for a short period of time when somebody becomes champ. That would be dope.
poopypants- June 11, 2008 at 1:05 am
You know what? Fuck it. I only feel this way because I now I won't be the only cool guy with an UFC shirt so undersized, you can see ALL of my awesome barbwire and or tribal armband tattoo. You got me. Sons a bitches. What are ya? Fuckin' detectives?
poopypants- June 11, 2008 at 12:56 am
Look, I get that this was inevitable. I get it's a business. I get that other sports have action figures and they're not dead. I get Dana White doing what he thinks he needs to do. Trust me, the godamn business I'm in, I know all this. It just sucks I couldn't enjoy it a little more without all the negative aspects of a cultural phenomenon. I bet there's hardcore WWE fans that feel it got ruined once all the merchandising and shit started. I bet there's hardcore Nascar guys who feel the same way. It's almost like when your local professional team that you've always loved, suddenly is in the championships and suddenly every Tom, Dick and Harry is spouting off their lame opinion. It's like "Where were you three years ago when we sucked?"
Shit, maybe I am a baby, crying about the big kids in the pool, but dammit, at least I know what a fuckin' gogoplata is.
sol- June 11, 2008 at 12:27 am
in london, there are shops that have "american" fashion like Phat Farm etc. some of the t-shirts in there cost between £50-70 thats like $100-140 no? I'd rather pay $50 for an affliction t-shirt thanks.
the king- June 10, 2008 at 11:22 pm
I am sorry but if half of the people on this site think affliction shirts suck and are stupid than there just plain fashion DEAD! have fun wearing wal-mart graphic tees and solid colored Polos! of course not a real Polo, cause 50 dollars is too much to pay for nice clothes!
Holden Caufield- June 10, 2008 at 10:53 pm
I seriously doubt anyone can honestly compare MMA or UFC in particular to the NFL or MLB. Yes those sports have along with most are not just one small partnership. I'm fairly certain he limits what sort of marketing he allows he fighters to participate in. At least the NFL and MLB have team marketing to help them along. And in no way does the UFC pull the clout of the the NFL or MLB. As it stands, he'll be VERY lucky to achieve NASCAR status.

Affliction t-shirts have the same fashion popularity as the Mullet. White trash and wanna be douche bags who attend sparring sessions in over priced gyms and slap the bumper sticker on the family truxter.
this is capitalism- June 10, 2008 at 9:35 pm
one last thing, everyone bitching about "affliction wearers" well where I come from if you're wearing something that looks that bad and costs that much you just laugh at the poor schmuck and go about your buisness. Since everyone does it, these guys take the hint pretty fast.
this is capitalism- June 10, 2008 at 9:29 pm
they are a buisness, the purpose of buisness is to make money, get off your fucking high horse you cry baby, as long as we don't see Dana goin to the ring to fight Tito in a Hell in the Cell you can take that mma is wwe shit and stick it up your oh so holier then thou ass. If nothing else this will bring more awareness about our sport, I thought we all still wanted this shit to go mainstream and now all you guys do is cry about it, and not every douche bag is suddenly gonna start rocking the shit..I mean really, do you wear any clothing associated with any sport? I know I don't cause I'm not a complete wannabe turd who sports nike cause I think it makes me a hip black basketball player...as long as they aren't using slave labour what's the big deal.

On a final note, DnD is badass, those dudes Larping are total fags who don't even understand that game, go figure. and you wouldn't counter a punch with a armbar saving throw! Jesus! Obviously he has to beat your AC and if he failed THEN you get to make your Grapple check, after your attack of oppurtunity of course, assuming Silva doesn't have Improved Unarmed Strike. (If he had I.U.S. you only get a grapple check)

Man, you guys bitch about people not understanding mma then show your no better by not understanding what you're writing about...Classic.
Dr.- June 10, 2008 at 9:20 pm
Affliction t's are the new striped button up shirt the club douchebags wear. I guess on some levels it says, "I know what MMA is so you better watch out or I'll get you in a full-mount. Fear my awesomeness and the awesomeness of my sleeve tattoos." But then again, you look so friggin' cool with your highly decorative overpriced t-shirt and "original" artwork on your skin - so what do we know, huh?

It's definitely a cash grab on the UFC's part. Can you blame them? Obviously, many can. I hope, but am not holding my breath that it will help pay fighters more while keeping PPV costs down - I doubt it though. All to increase the profit margin.
Eugene- June 10, 2008 at 9:12 pm
Newsflash:

All major sports have clothing, action figures, trading cards, etc etc. Ever hear of a Mickey Mantle rookie card? Ever see anyone wearing a NY Yankees ball cap? Seems to me that the UFC is just coming out of the dark ages and getting with the times. This will mean much more $ for their fighters (and of course the UFC). They cannot just make a Tito doll without his consent. If they do Tito can sue, get cease and desist orders etc.

Though the action figures hopefully will be the McFarlane type of high quality (actually look like the people in a classic pose) and not the cheap "press the button on the back to make the arm punch" kind.

If that still hasn't convinced you, Imagine the fun you could have with Tito and Dana dolls doing "things" to each other.
KG- June 10, 2008 at 9:03 pm
Did anyone stop watching the NFL when a bunch of people started wearing NFL jerseys of their favorite teams?

Did anyone stop watching baseball when they came out with Baseball cards, toys, and clothing?

Did WWF/WWE wrestling die when they started coming out with wrestling action figures when you were a kid?

Did Hockey die when... er... its already dead

NO.

Its about money.. look at all sports- they all have clothing, video games, dolls, cards, etc etc and they do fine!

Stop being a baby... just laugh at the Tapout shirt guy and go about your business. At least Tapout shirts arent overpriced like that Afflictiction bullshit... if only the 8 year old kids in China knew how much those shirts were selling for as they are getting paid $1.22/hr to make them in some sweat shop!
gogo-jojo- June 10, 2008 at 7:44 pm
Many people seem to be suprised with many of Dana's actions lately, but they are forgeting Dana's very words-"this is a business" and he is a businesman as well as the UFC being a coorporation. The first priority is always making profit. The UFC, now in the face of primetime and network competition, is smartly cutting its roster and "Branding" itself well. Think about it, you pay 15$ to be a walking billboard for a business attempting to branch out to less hardcore fans not yet willing to throw out 44.99 every month.
JoseMonkey- June 10, 2008 at 7:42 pm
I agree with MMANewbExpert: While it's tough to watch MMA go from being something nobody but hardcore fans cared about to a mainstream sport that every douchebag you know suddenly likes, that's the price of success.

I worry a bit about the WWE-ization of the UFC, but I'm not ready to freak out just yet. Action figures don't bother me; plenty of sports have action figures -- ever heard of "Starting Lineup"? They made baseball, football, and even some boxing figures throughout the 90's, IIRC.
mayhem420- June 10, 2008 at 7:41 pm
Ok so they sell some action figures? So what.... does that make it less exciting to watch or go to a show? So the douche down the street is wearing a TapOut shirt.
WHO CARES? Reading most of those posts above just sounds like a bunch of little kids crying about how they cant get in to the pool cause all the bigger kids are around.
Suck it up and move along. The sport will not change cause of a Rampage Action figure or a UFC hat. All its gonna do it make money for the UFC which all SPORTS and businesses are out to do.
You know who runis a good sport or show or movie?
A - hole people who complain about everything under the sun cause they have nothing else to talk about or do with the time they have.

wait.... so that would be me?
E- June 10, 2008 at 7:37 pm
I'm going to get all of my bestest friends together and have a big MMA LARPing party! It will kick eleven different kinds of ass! I'll be a level 12 Muay Thai/BJJ practitioner and overwhelm my opponents with Vale Tudo style head stomps. All of which will be faux-fighting and not cause any real damage. This is going to be so freakin' awesome, we'll be SO much cooler than those traditional LARPers and we'll get ALL of those foxy LARP groupies. Now I just need to learn how to please the fairer sex when the D&D game is over and she's still in my basement...


LIGHTNING BOLT!
LIGHTNING BOLT!
Boiling Tater- June 10, 2008 at 7:31 pm
Forget about combat sports and marketing! What about the blow-up dolls? Come on... I only wanna poke one...
MMANewbExpert- June 10, 2008 at 7:14 pm
Sorry guys. The UFC (and MMA in general) isn't going to stay this perfect little world that only the hardcore fans have access to. You're going to get more and more morons and "common" fans the longer it goes. With that will come merchandising and the like.
Vrax- June 10, 2008 at 7:02 pm
I don't get all the negativity - folks, how the fuck else do you think the UFC can raise fighter salaries, while keeping the cost of PPV the same?

*crickets*

Right.

Signature moves? Seriously, that's a concern? How about the ones they already have "GSP is known for his amazing sprawl and showy spinning kicks" while "Anderson "spider" Silva is a dynamo in the clinch, often using his signature knees" blah blah "Liddell's overhand right" "Rampage's Right hook and powerslams" the list is endless. Fighters have styles and tendencies. Signature, styles and tendencies.

Characterization is similarly not something you need to create, only publicize. GSP is humble and respectful, Matt Hughes is a country boy, he's rivals with Matt Serra, a New york tough guy".

It's really no big deal.
The King- June 10, 2008 at 7:01 pm
Ok 1st off I love this site but on this issue dude your way out of line.
1st if theres one thing that MMA might not survive its guys like KIMBO who insult the sport. MMA is not about Thugs and all Thugs need to not be in MMA. ALso another thing that will kill mma is crap refs and quick stops. it seems like we have seen too much of that in the past weeks and I can see how a causal fan might be like "is this what mma is, NaH I will pass"

Thats a much bigger problem than action figures and t shirts. And what is exactly wrong with Affliction shirts? and those who wear them?

Action figures are really perfect for the UFC they provide them with a collectible item that fans can seek, similar to the way All PRO Sports have collectible items that fans seek and purchase. I would much rather buy a UFC action Figure than A pack of UFC trading cards! these marketing concepts are not WRESTLING concepts they are just a way to make money and provide fans with products.

I think alot of people (hardcore MMA fans included) seem to draw the connection with MMA and wrestling all by themselves. it is a self inflected wound that needs to be dealt with the person themselves.

If you think MMA and WWE are similar than thats your problem. They are not plain and simple. regardless of action figures or entrance songs.

But I will say that everyone fav GSP always seem to have be the "good guy" that has been insulted and it fighting for all thats holy!
poopypants- June 10, 2008 at 7:00 pm
I don't like where this is all going. We'll remember the "good old days" when not every shithead you saw was wearing a UFC shirt. Big, fat rednecks all over my town are already wearing Tapout shirts and hats and I know most of them couldn't even pick Fedor from a lineup of one. I liked MMA when it was "mine/ours" - A little known niche sport that I could enjoy without every douche at work talking about how "awesome that Kimbo fight was" or "dude, what a killer armbar". The only silver lining to this cloud is the more the sport grows, so does the talent pool as years go by. Still, Dana's a dick for making this all happen so fast. Shit....
Myles Kilometers- June 10, 2008 at 6:53 pm
Ugh. This is fucking gay.
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