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Sean O’Malley starting personal clothing line to counter lack of Reebok revenue

After reportedly making only $8000 over two years of Reebok apparel sales, rising UFC star Sean O’Malley is looking to make a little extra income.

UFC 250: Wineland v O’Malley Photo by Jeff Bottari/Zuffa LLC

When the UFC made their deal with Reebok back in 2015, the $70 million/6-year contract seemed like it may have been a solid chunk of change to pay for outfitting UFC athletes—at least to some. But, with a rare few exceptions, Reebok essentially purchased the rights to brand a rotating cast of more than 600 athletes for somewhere in the neighborhood of what it cost Nike to sign Kevin Durant to his Rookie shoe deal.

Even if many UFC fighters don’t exactly fit the mold of a surefire merchandising hit, the package was designed to be an easy win for the sports apparel company. Case in point, Sean O’Malley. The ‘Sugar Show’ is one of the UFC’s fastest rising stars; one who appears to have all the makings of a headlining talent for years to come. And, at least according to his own stocktaking, he’s already sold well over $1 million dollars worth of merchandise for the UFC’s uniform partner, all for the a whopping return of about $8000.

“The whole Reebok thing is insane. I think it was back-to-back years that it was over a million dollars [of merchandise sold],” O’Malley told MMA fighting in a recent interview. “I know one year for sure, I don’t want to say anything that’s not true but I have it in my e-mails, I think it was back-to-back years they did over a million dollars with the shirts and whatever else they sell on Reebok and I got $3,000 and $5,000 I think for those. Absolutely insane.”

And while the end of the Reebok deal may be on the near horizon (and seems more and more likely to be replaced by longtime combat sports brand Venum), it looks like O’Malley is taking matters more firmly in hand when it comes to his ability to earn income off the clothing he wears. O’Malley announced that he’d be starting his own clothing brand in the coming months. Something he hopes will pay off a bit better than UFC outfitting has to date.

“We’re dropping my own merch line soon and I think it’s going to be fun,” O’Malley said. “That’s something I’ve always wanted to do, too, get into the ‘Suga’ brand, the clothing, and I think it’s slowly going to build like any business and be something really cool.”

O’Malley also added that he plans to relaunch a custom strain of marijuana, following a failed attempt to get a similar idea off the ground in 2018. “We couldn’t get it out of California,” the MMA Lab fighter said, explaining why the previous business venture failed to gain traction. “We didn’t have the right people to build that but I think we’re coming out with the ‘Suga’ strain that’s going to be all around the world.”

Most recently, O’Malley fought longtime WEC & UFC action-fight veteran Eddie Wineland, stopping his opponent via spectacular KO in under two minutes of the first round. That win came on the heels of an almost equally stunning KO over Jose Alberto Quinonez, back in March of this year—all following two years on the sidelines battling injury and drug testing woes. If the 25-year-old fighter can keep putting on flashy performances in the cage, it seems likely that more success outside the Octagon will follow.

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