The UFC's sponsor deal with Reebok went into effect earlier this year (July 1st, to be exact), and has been met with ambivalent feelings across the board, although, to be fair, there is significantly more negative reaction than positive. The tenure plan guarantees fighters sponsor payouts on a tiered system that goes by how many fights the athlete has with the promotion. While this might be okay for fighters just starting out with the promotion, it's taking quite a bite out of the earning potential of the more prominent stars, as the rules of the deal are quite constrictive regarding the visibility of other sponsors. Basically, no other sponsors can be visible on the fighter's uniforms, or on their cornermen, and the banners prominently displayed by fight teams are no longer allowed.
Several fighters from the UFC roster have spoken out against the deal, and a few have even left to join other organizations or taken extended hiatus periods to pursue other opportunities. Heavyweight attraction, Brendan Schaub hasn't officially retired, but is doing so well with his podcast, Fighter and the Kid, that he's taken an indefinite hiatus from competition. Tim Kennedy has been another dissatisfied voice, and he too has taken a break from the Octagon, pursuing acting opportunities to bridge the gap. Phil Davis and Josh Thomson left the UFC for greener pastures with Bellator. Both were ranked within the Top 10 of their respective divisions at the time of their departure, and both spoke to the detrimental effects the sponsor deal has on the top tier athletes in the world's premiere MMA organization.
There are some that find the deal lucrative, and those folks have gone on to cut side deals with the sportswear company. Ronda Rousey, Joanna Jędrzejczyk, Chris Weidman and Conor McGregor are all enjoying the benefits of exclusive contracts with Reebok. Now, we're seeing another level of sponsorship offered by the company made famous (or infamous) by its "pump" technology. Conor McGregor's coach, John Kavanagh of SBG Ireland, proudly announced yesterday via Twitter, that his training center had finalized a partnership deal with Reebok.
While no details have been revealed on the partnership, there are some current photos coming from Coach Kavanagh's Twitter account, including one of their "Reeboktogon." This new partnership, the first of it's kind for Reebok within the confines of mixed martial arts, certainly speaks to the level of participation that Reebok is investing in the sport. As always, when more information becomes available, we will update our readers.