For the first time since they partnered up with Reebok, the UFC has fined 3 fighters, and warned 12 more for violating their Athlete Outfitting Policy. According to Tracey Bleczinski, the UFC Senior VP of Global Consumer Products, their sponsorship payouts will have deductions after "knowingly and seriously" violating the said guidelines.
"We have had over 99 percent compliance with the Athlete Outfitting Policy," Bleczinski told MMAjunkie. "This week will be the first time that we will be issuing reduction in payments for non-compliance with the policy."
"A warning is issued when an athlete is non-compliant but agrees and takes steps to correct the infraction. There is ample opportunity for an athlete to correct an infraction," she said. "A payment reduction is enacted when an athlete knowingly and seriously violates the policy after receiving an opportunity to correct it."
Bleczinski didn't release the names of the fighters, or the amount of money they will be fined, but one of them has already confirmed it on social media.
Although it wasn't an outside sponsor, Donald Cerrone seemed to have committed a violation by stitching a patch on to his Reebok shorts. As seen on the photo above, a part of Cowboy's old Muay Thai shorts has been sewn on it, which is said to be a tradition that also honors his grandmother.
He has been fighting with the same old patch since his early days (various photos by Esther Lin here), and still decided to continue it during his December title fight, despite the stricter rules with the Reebok Fight Kits.
On twitter, Cerrone replied "I sure did," on a query about being fined. He has also since retweeted fans stating that they would've also taken the deduction to honor family and tradition.
While the other two have yet to go public with the notice, Nate Diaz did weigh in wearing his jeans, making him a likely candidate as well. As Josh Samman mentioned on his UFC on FOX 17 journal, Reebok liaisons tried, and failed, to make Diaz wear the proper gear at that time.
While making sure the Reebok Fight Kits are a main concern, Bleczinski also noted that there are other possible violations, including "the usage of unapproved flags or banners in the octagon (only national flags are allowed), usage of unapproved headphones (Monster products are required) or to bring any other brand or competing sponsor to the octagon, weigh-in, press conference or open workouts"
It is also interesting to point out that it was the UFC, and not Reebok, who decided to fine the 3 fighters. Although, that fact may not matter for many, as taking even more money away from an already low (and heavily criticized) payout certainly isn't going help the public's perception of this Reebok deal.
UPDATE: As reader Austin Price also pointed out, Rafael Dos Anjos wore a shirt of an outside sponsor and fight team affiliate during the weigh ins.