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Soccer star Ronaldo cuts ties with UFC fighters following ‘unfair’ Reebok deal

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One of the biggest sports marketing companies in Brazil has cut ties with UFC stars due to the Reebok deal.

Owned by former soccer star Ronaldo Nazario de Lima, 9ine Sports & Entertainment announced Tuesday that they will no longer work with former UFC champions Junior dos Santos and Vitor Belfort. 9ine has also worked with Anderson Silva for three years.

In an official statement, Ronaldo’s agency called the Reebok deal "unfair" to athletes, stating that the former soccer player "does not tolerate seeing an organization change its sponsorship funding rules and fighter remuneration -- arbitrarily -- without taking a stand."

9ine’s full statement is in full below:

We announce that, from this date, 9ine Sports & Entertainment withdraws from any negotiations involving the UFC, its events or fighters. The agency does not believe in the new model adopted by the company in attracting sponsorship and believes that this directly hurts all athletes from the organization, and also the companies that supported and backed the UFC for many years.

The history between 9ine and UFC is old. We were the first sports and entertainment marketing agency to dive right into projects proposed by the company. We were also pioneers while working the image of fighters like Anderson Silva, Junior dos Santos and most recently Vitor Belfort. All champions and references in their categories.

But not only from business becomes a big company. We have principles based on the vision of a former athlete and sports fan. Our president, Ronaldo Nazario, does not tolerate seeing an organization change its sponsorship funding rules and fighter remuneration -- arbitrarily -- without taking a stand.

Therefore, 9ine leaves the ‘UFC business’ while taking a stand as to what we believe is unfair to athletes, true warriors who make a living with MMA. To them, we wish every success and wisdom to deal with the difficulties that lie ahead.


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