Former UFC heavyweight champion Junior dos Santos was released by the UFC this year after a four-fight losing streak inside of the Octagon. Now free of his UFC contract the Brazilian has been exploring the pro boxing and pro wrestling scenes.
He recently made an appearance with All Elite Wrestling. During that appearance Dos Santos was able to wear some custom boxing shoes that were made for him by apparel giant Nike.
Dos Santos’ manager Dr. Ana Claudia Guedes revealed that those shoes came along with her client’s sponsorship deal with Nike, something that went kaput when the UFC signed an exclusive deal with rivals Reebok.
1/2 Note the incredible @nike custom boxing shoes that he FINALLY got to wear in a ring. True story: when @ufc signed its @reebok deal (the company that didn’t take time to learn about MMA, who made shirts screwing up the names of champions/all time greats) pic.twitter.com/UZ5UYNNYv3— Dr. Ana Claudia Guedes (@GuedesGroup) October 17, 2021
In her tweet, Guedes threw plenty of shade at Reebok; pointing out the company’s embarrassing history of typos on official UFC fight kits. The main target of Guedes’ ire, though, was the promotion for signing a deal with Reebok which ended the entire roster’s ability to secure their own endorsements for their fight gear and banners. The deal, which took effect in 2015, represented a massive loss of earnings for top performers such as Dos Santos.
Reebok have since been replaced by Venum as official clothing partner of the UFC. And fighters still can’t wear their own sponsors into the cage.
Cigano’s deal with Nike coincided with his UFC title defense to Cain Velasquez at UFC 155 in 2012. That deal came after Dos Santos impressed with a 9-0 streak to start his UFC career and finishes of Velasquez, to win the title, and Frank Mir.
Dos Santos lost to Velasquez, in a brutal lopsided decision, and would drift back and forth between wins and losses for the remainder of his UFC career.