COMMENTARY | A few months ago, Dana White said he was working on a deal to have uniforms in the UFC. This would include shorts, walkout shirts, and hats. This prospective apparel company would be the main backer for the UFC and its fighters. In MMA’s history, fighters relied tremendously on these companies to earn a living. Currently, sponsors still play an integral role in the total compensation of fighters. While exact numbers are unknown, sponsorship deals can add up to several hundred dollars for lesser known fighters to a few thousand dollars for mid-card fighters and up to hundreds of thousands of dollars for household names like Anderson Silva and Georges St Pierre.
With already mixed feedback, White’s announcement has caused a firestorm of public and fighter outrage. But there are benefits from such a deal. The obvious motive for uniforms is more money for everyone. Assuming that Nike, Reebok or a similar company signs on, this would generate an incredible revenue source for the UFC in advertising and merchandising deals. The benefit to the fighters is that UFC would share the revenue stream based on a formula, flat amount, or percentage. This would most likely be based on ranking or where they are positioned on the fight card. The deal makes sense for fighters as long as they make more money.
Uniforms would create a better image for the fighters. Remembering several years ago, a Tito Ortiz walkout shirt had the phrase “Dana White is my bitch”. The fans loved it, but this was in a different era. Nowadays, the UFC has mainstream media attention and is targeting a larger and more diverse demographic of women and younger children. The UFC cannot afford to have such an obscene statement. Imagine the firestorm if a fighter’s t-shirt had a drug reference or rape innuendo. We have already seen the UFC crack down on fighters making homophobic statements or obscene tweets. Uniforms would mitigate much of this risk and avoid bad publicity.
Uniforms would help to create more standardized look inside the ring. As a fan, I always laughed how companies like Condom Depot, VA Mortgage Lender, or Dynamic Fastener sponsored fighters. I’d much rather see targeted MMA or athletic companies doing the sponsoring. The advantage with the current system is that fighters have the freedom to get support from almost any company. Moving forward, hopefully there will be an opportunity to have fighter chosen company sponsors.
Finally, from a fighter perspective, it would be nice to not deal with finding sponsors. Fighters must find sponsors, negotiate payment, and also get paid. Sponsors will typically seek out fighters on the main card, but what about lesser known fighters. Most often, they struggle to find sponsors and become distracted on the business end of MMA when they should be focused on training and the upcoming fights.
It will be interesting to see the uniform situation play out. As long as fighters see an increased benefit and flexibility, I support uniforms.
Circle the calendar because on July 4th weekend, the UFC Fan Expo is back in Vegas. I proudly say that I look forward to the expo every year. It is a fan’s opportunity to meet fighters, take pictures, and get autographs. I’m happy to guide or answer questions for any one if they have never attended.
Check out my recap article from Day 1 and the autograph schedule.
UFC Through the Mail Autograph (TTM) Show Off – 3/12/2014 – Tyron “the Chosen One” Woodley & Letter from the UFC
Showing off another through the mail autograph (TTM). This is of up and comer Tyron Woodley. He’s had some explosive fights, most recently knockout Josh Koscheck.
This TTM came back in about a week. Really happy about the success of this one and he’s fighting in a few days against Carlos Condit. Tyron Woodley signed a total of three cards. One came back really the nice and the other two were a bit blotchy. Next time, I might have to send a sharpie. Overall, definitely a score and looking forward to a fantastic fight on Saturday.
Lastly, I also got a letter from the UFC just to acknowledge some recent autograph requests I sent. They really didn’t have to do that, but it was a nice gesture.
I said it once and I’ll say it again, Dana White and the UFC treat their fans better than any other sports league.
This is my first through the mail autograph showoff. For those unfamiliar with through the mail, if you send a self addressed stamped envelop to someone, they will sign a few things and mail it back to you. It’s an easy way to get a few autographs. But there’s not guarantee you will get your items back, and the process can take several months sometimes.
Total price: .92 cents for the two stamps and a few cents for the topps card and envelopes.
Message me if you would like the address for Dana White.