The UFC turned the mixed martial arts (MMA) world upside down when they signed a blockbuster deal with sports apparel giant Reebok. The deal basically makes Reebok the sole sponsor of the UFC’s equipment and apparel, meaning UFC fighters will have a uniform, and will be unable to sport the logos of the many sponsors they have gained over the years.
Well, this deal is set to go into full effect in just a few weeks on July 1, 2015, and it seems as if there’s no looking back now. At this point we have heard it all from fighters, managers, media members, and the UFC brass. Some fighters are in favor of the deal, and some are absolutely beyond angered about the deal, as they will likely lose out on a ton of money.
So how has the UFC responded to the extreme backlash towards the deal? Well, they have mostly shrugged it off, continuously promising their fighters that the deal is for the best. Recently speaking on a live Periscope broadcast (Via Bloody Elbow), UFC president Dana White once again proclaimed that the Reebok deal is for the best, but he also claims that all of the negative responses are mostly due to fear of change:
“Lots of complaints with Reebok, but Reebok is the deal. People are just freaked out about change around here. If you look throughout the history of this company, every time there’s change, people freak out. That Reebok deal is going to be great for everybody.”
Fear of change may be an understatement, as this deal may more than likely completely change the lives of many fighters, and in some cases, negatively change the lives of many fighters. Some have even deemed this deal as something the UFC is only doing to help themselves.
Is it merely fear of positive change as White has indicated, or do all of the fighters have a point in their negative backlash?