Zuffa's Ban on BooYaa Fightwear

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King of the Cage executive, Peter Lamy, was a bit critical of Zuffa and Dana White in a response to MMA Payout regarding Zuffa's BooYaa Fightwear ban:

Dana White and ZUFFA have every reason to be concerned with KOTC regardless of EliteXC. No one has as much Knowledge or experience in the sport as Terry Trebilcock and Dana knows that. Things are moving forward and we are very excited of what the future holds for KOTC and the MMA world.

As far as BOOYAA goes you can’t find a better group of guys dedicated to helping fighters and it is the likes of BOOYAA and other clothing companies that allows fighters to stay in the game in the early days while climbing the ranks and also reap the benefits beyond a fight purse. But I guess ZUFFA would not understand that part of the industry.

The story goes that BooYaa wanted to sponsor Mike Budnik in his fight at WEC 37 against Shane Roller.  Because BooYaa is closely associated with a competing promotion, KOTC, the request was rejected, and a ban on the apparel company was instituted.  I say the association between KOTC and BooYaa is close, because BooYaa sponsored a KOTC event, and a link to the KOTC website is prominently displayed at the top of BooYaa's homepage.  Likewise, KOTC displays a link to the apparel company's site at the top of their homepage.

Reasonable individuals can argue about whether or not these bans issued by Zuffa are over-the-top or unnecessary.  The idea that Zuffa doesn't understand the importance of sponsorship dollars to young fighters, or that they don't care enough about the fighters to allow them this income stream is absurd in my view.  These actions are standard operating procedure for Dana White and company.  Zuffa is simply not going to allow other promotions to advertise via UFC or WEC events.  That's the long and the short of it as I see it.

Zuffa isn't unlike most other firms that aspire to stay in business and increase their income.  I suppose one could interpret Zuffa's shrewd practices as evidence that they care only about the company's profitability and not their fighters.  However, the growth of Zuffa and the financial well-being of the promotion's fighters aren't mutually exclusive propositions.  In fact, a healthy and growing UFC (or WEC) provides more income opportunities for its fighters than a promotion that struggles to stay in business due to unwise business practices.  It's pretty difficult to score new sponsors when your employer can't put on an event.

I hope that King of the Cage and its parent company, ProElite, have the fighters in mind as they continue to deny many of them free agency.  There's been a lot of talk that KOTC may take the spot of EliteXC.  Thus far, nothing tangible has emerged from the wreckage of ProElite and the sales negotiations that have ensued since the promotion ceased operations.  In the meantime, their fighters are left without an income stream from the company that holds their contracts.

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