It was only fitting that I followed up on this since I posted about the RVCA and Clinch Gear ban last year as Strikeforce made their primetime debut on CBS. BJPenn.com explains in more detail what happened with the RVCA ban and Tapout's predicament this time around...
Pedro Carrasco of BJPENN.COM has the details:
However, during my time here in San Jose, while spending time with very legitimate sources close to the situation, I was advised that certain parties within the UFC halted TapOuts participation in the event and threatened a UFC lifetime ban, if Emelianenko came out wearing their line.
Similarly, In Fedor’s last outing he came out wearing the ever popular RVCA clothing line which resulted in the UFC’s temporary ban from the Orange County based lifestyle Apparel Company. We witnessed evidence of said ban when UFC star BJ Penn did not come out in his traditional RVCA gear during his title fight against Frankie Edgar.
RVCA has since made amends and as is now Octagon worthy once again. However TapOut was apparently not willing to take on the same gamble as their Orange County counterpart and pulled the deal from Fedor, just days before Strikeforce goes live.
In an industry monopolized by the UFC, getting banned from their fighters is a huge blow to any company trying to make it to the big stage. TapOut opted to keep their relationship with the UFC intact and the Russian based M-1 management team secured the deal with Dan Henderson’s Clinch Gear.
I do not want to get into bashing the UFC; it is after all a business. As every fan knows, they run a very aggressive ship out of Las Vegas and I can understand why they do what they do.
But what about Fedor? Arguably, the best fighter of all time has now had two major sponsors black listed from working with him due to the UFC’s stranglehold on the industry. Obviously, Dan Henderson has nothing to lose from this golden opportunity, so that is exactly why Fedor will be supporting Clinch Gear Tomorrow Night.
UPDATED: Vadim (M-1) comments on the situation:
Q: When can fans get Fedor's Tapout shirt:
A: I'm afraid to disappoint the fans, but it seems like, never. Literally today they called me from the TAPOUT firm and told me that they were contacted by the representatives of the UFC, and that under the threat of tearing up all the contracts with their organization demanded that TAPOUT categorically stop producing all the shirts from the line of Fedor Emelianenko.
This is how Dana White feels about Fedor. So tell me, what can we think about such person after this, that even in things that have nothing to do with UFC, he still tries to mess it up for us. So it seems that the shirts will just stay a rarity that fans will see in pictures. Say thanks to UFC and their politics of monopoly.
Clinch Gear's Fedor Walkout Tee:
MiddleEasy has also done a great job covering the story, and I'm sure they will have more to come, hats off to them.