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Bella Mir first fighter to sign NIL deal with UFC

Bella Mir grapples with father Frank at a Bellator workout in Hawaii
Esther Lin, MMA Fighting

Bella Mir is already making history.

MMA Fighting confirmed with Mir’s management that “Lady” — the daughter of former UFC heavyweight champion Frank Mir — has signed a name, image, and likeness (NIL) deal to serve as an ambassador for the UFC while competing at the University of Iowa. The news was first reported by ESPN.

The UFC later announced the signing via social media.

NIL deals are relatively new in the world of amateur sports, with the NCAA first allowing them in July 2021. These deals open the door for college-student athletes to be compensated for the use of their image for public purposes, including endorsements and on social media. Mir is currently a freshman on the Hawkeyes wrestling team as well as a professional fighter.

“I’m super grateful and I honestly couldn’t be more thankful to [UFC President] Dana [White] and UFC for giving me this opportunity,” Bella Mir said in a press release statement. “I’m going to make sure I do my best to represent UFC and show the world what I’m all about.”

This past December, the University of Iowa announced that the UFC had signed a sponsorship deal to support the school’s men’s and women’s wrestling programs.

In high school, Mir won four state wrestling championships competing in Nevada. The 20-year-old flyweight is 3-0 as a pro fighter, with her past two wins coming by way of first-round submission.

Mir’s NIL deal does not have any bearing on her competing for the UFC or any other promotion in the future; however, White sounds optimistic that this is just the beginning of their working relationship.

“Bella was destined to become a member of the UFC family her entire life, and I’m proud that she’s making history as our first NIL ambassador in one of the best programs at the University of Iowa,” White said in a press release statement. “She’s a four-time state high school wrestling champion who has won jiu-jitsu tournaments and three professional MMA fights before turning 19. Bella is an incredible role model for young women who are not only looking to get into sports, but also pursue their dreams. She’s on another level, and we can’t wait to see what she does next.”

Mike Heck contributed to this report.

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