In three weeks, Mirko Cro Cop will be fighting Anthony Hamilton in the co-main event of UFC Fight Night: Henderson vs. Alves in South Korea. The fight itself really has no bearing on the top of the heavyweight division, but there is some sentimental significance at play here. This will mark the first time that Cro Cop has fought under the new Reebok uniform deal, and the end result is that he cannot wear his famous red-and-white checkered shorts (patterned off the Croatian coat of arms) when he steps into the cage. He outlined his frustration over the whole ordeal in an interview with Croatian media. (Via MMA Mania, with a H/T to Reddit for translation)
"The shorts are overall okay. I understand the job and business, and I understand that now everyone will have to fight in these Reebok shorts with their name. I tried to see if the uniform could incorporate some of my essential elements such as the boxes that I always wear. I was in constant contact with people from the UFC, but in the end it was not realized. They were very correct and patient, but in the end they failed to explain why I can not have a chessboard on my shorts. I do not understand who would mind? Their attitude is that all fighters could ask for something specific. I'll have to accept this because I perform for this promotion. I do not like this, since the checkerboard has been my trademark shorts since my first fight. They promised to put a large Croatian coat of arms on my sweats and that after the match will be able to have a flag in a cage. You do not have that much choice: either accept or you can't fight. "
So not only will Cro Cop be wearing Reebok's "black with white" or "white with black" trunks in place of one of the most iconic trunks in MMA history, but he's not a fan of Reebok's product quality to begin with.
"When we talk about the equipment, I have to be a little critical of Reebok. I got some test samples and the quality is very bad. Tracksuits to this day have not managed to buckle. Now everything is in the closet and I did not once put on. The layout is nice, material is nice, but maybe you should work on quality. I hope for the foreign media conveys this interview and lets Reebok read intended criticism and a little work on quality. "