The UFC has made its decision.
The organization has decided to go with Venum as its exclusive global outfitting and apparel partner when the Reebok deal officially expires early next year, the UFC announced Friday morning.
The UFC will debut the new Venum fight kits in April 2021. It will also lead to more money for the athletes as the UFC stated in its release that it is adjusting the pay scale tied to its Promotional Guidelines program.
Reebok will still be the official footwear of the UFC until the end of 2021.
“We’re pumped that Venum will be joining us as our new exclusive global outfitting and apparel partner,” said UFC President Dana White. In a statement “Venum is an Iconic combat sports brand that understands the unique needs of MMA athletes. Franck Dupuis and his team at VENUM have the technical knowledge and experience that will produce world-class UFC Fight Kits and apparel. We’re looking forward to collaborating with them on this next evolution of UFC’s outfitting program.”
UFC COO Lawrence Epstein spoke with the media in Abu Dhabi to discuss how the deal came together.
“We’ve had a great relationship with Reebok and that’s coming to an end,” Epstein explained. “As we looked at some of the opportunities that were out there, we had a couple of criteria that were really important to us. Of course, there’s a money aspect, but there’s also the aspect of the equipment itself.
“What we didn’t want to have was equipment that was, essentially, built for another sport, or for general training, and then put the UFC logo on it and magically it’s the uniform. It was incredibly important to us—as it was with the Reebok deal— that the equipment that we’re going to be giving to our athletes be specifically created for mixed martial arts athletes. And Venum delivered on that.”
During the Rebook partnership, fighters would receive a certain amount of money per fight based on their promotional experience. There has been a debate throughout the partnership with Reebok in regards to how much athletes are getting as opposed to what they would receive should they have their own sponsorship opportunites.
While it doesn’t seem like things will change much with this new deal with Venum, one thing Epstein expressed during his media scrum is that the fighters should expect some more money in their bank accounts.
“We’re proud of what we’ve paid to the athletes via the athlete outfitting policy,” Epstein said. “We’re also very proud to say that, once this Venum deal goes into place, the athletes will be getting a meaningful increase in fees paid to them associated to the athlete outfitting policy. I don’t have the exact schedule here for you today. That will be disclosed later, but we can report here today that it’s a meaningful increase effective April 2021.”
When asked for more specifics, Epstein kept it simple in his response.
“Meaningful means meaningful.”