The last piece of the UFC's deal with Reebok has been released: what the uniforms will actually look like.
Reebok unveiled the new UFC Fight Kits at a press conference Tuesday in New York City, promising "performance" and "customization" for the athletes. The kits have three different looks -- country, universal and champion -- and Reebok sought out to achieve flexibility, strength, customization and comfort with the new apparel, executives said.
"This is a big one for us," UFC president Dana White said. "We've had a lot of historical moments over the last 15 years and this is definitely one of the big ones. Now, like every other sport, we have a major sports apparel brand behind the UFC producing these kits for the fighters."
International fighters will be able to wear the colors of their specific country, from Brazil to Ireland to Japan. Fighters from the United States will be able to wear red, white and blue, as well. The champions line is mostly black with a gold Octagon emblem on the shoulder. The universal line is a black and white look.
Despite criticism that fighters would not be able to express themselves through their clothing, White promised that there would be customization available.
"Something that a lot of fighters were worried about was individuality," White said. "Would they have input into how their outfits would look? And they do. Actually, Miesha Tate was saying to me last night, 'I'm so blown away by the interaction with Reebok and we're gonna have the ability to have our own look and our own feel.'"
Corrina Werkle, Reebok's general manager for the training business unit, explained that fighters will have the choice between different versions of shorts, like vale tiudo shorts or compression. They'll have "a different construction and length."
UFC women's bantamweight champion Ronda Rousey was most excited about the fight bra specifically designed for female combat sports athletes.
"I've had instances in fights where I've had to actually change what I was doing in the fight to try and avoid not flashing millions of people," Rousey said.
Werkle said the focus on producing the apparel was on flexibility, strength, customization and comfort/fit. She brought up multiple UFC athletes to explain the four categories, from Conor McGregor to Cain Velasquez to Joanna Jedrzejczyk and Rousey.
"At the end of the day, that's what matters to us -- that the fighters like it," White said.
The UFC's Reebok deal has come under plenty of criticism, starting with the fighters' lack of ability to where their own sponsors in the Octagon and during fight week. The compensation from Reebok, starting at just $2,500 per bout for fighters with one to five fights in the UFC, has also been panned by fighters and managers alike.
The unveiling was also hit with disapproval by some. Gilbert Melendez's name was spelled "Giblert" on the portion of the Reebok site where fans can by fighter kits. Lyoto Machida's kit had his real first name, Marcio, instead of the one by which everyone knows him. CM Punk's kit has his real name, Philip Brooks (spelled wrong, too), rather than the name that he is recognized by.
Reebok vice president Todd Krinsky said his organization took the UFC uniform design "very seriously," calling it the "highest level performance gear that these fighters are going to get."
"It's all about performance and it's all about individuality for the fighter," Krinsky said.