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Ronaldo's Brazilian marketing agency drops UFC clients due to Reebok deal

The fallout from the UFC's sponsorship deal with Reebok continues, as a Brazilian soccer legend's sports marketing agency has announced it will no longer work with UFC fighters.

Dennis Grombkowski/Getty Images

Brazilian striker Ronaldo, the most synonymous Ronaldo before Portugal's Cristiano Ronaldo ever arrived on the big stage, is regarded as one of the greatest footballers of all-time and most prolific goal scorers. His 15 goals in FIFA World Cup competition stands as 2nd most all-time behind Germany's Miroslav Klose (who broke the record vs. Brazil in 2014), and he's one of just four players in the sport's history to win player of the year at least 3 times. At the height of his career, he signed a lifetime endorsement deal with Nike worth over $100 million US, and earned an estimated $200-$250 million in salary and endorsements.

Now that he's retired, Ronaldo runs the 9ine Sports & Entertainment marketing agency, which deals with footballers, as well as athletes in other sports, but as of today there won't be any UFC representation. In a statement released by the company, they will no longer negotiate with the UFC or its fighters, clearly citing the new Reebok deal as the main reason. Anderson Silva, Junior dos Santos, and Vitor Belfort were the three biggest names on their list over the years. (Via MMA Fighting)

We announce that, from this date, 9ine Sports & Entertainment withdraws from any negotiations involving the UFC, its events or fighters. The agency does not believe in the new model adopted by the company in attracting sponsorship and believes that this directly hurts all athletes from the organization, and also the companies that supported and backed the UFC for many years.

The history between 9ine and UFC is old. We were the first sports and entertainment marketing agency to dive right into projects proposed by the company. We were also pioneers while working the image of fighters like Anderson Silva, Junior dos Santos and most recently Vitor Belfort. All champions and references in their categories.

But not only from business becomes a big company. We have principles based on the vision of a former athlete and sports fan. Our president, Ronaldo Nazario, does not tolerate seeing an organization change its sponsorship funding rules and fighter remuneration -- arbitrarily -- without taking a stand.

Therefore, 9ine leaves the ‘UFC business' while taking a stand as to what we believe is unfair to athletes, true warriors who make a living with MMA. To them, we wish every success and wisdom to deal with the difficulties that lie ahead.

This comes not long after news that UFC featherweight champion Jose Aldo was in danger of losing his sponsorship deal with Venum, also because of Reebok. Erick Silva also stated he'd lose about $12,000 a month as a result of the Reebok deal, so we're seeing how big an effect this is playing on the sponsorship market in one of the UFC's largest markets.

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