With Reebok deal set to expire, who will be the next exclusive apparel company for the UFC?

UFC, Dana White
Apr 12, 2019; Atlanta, GA, USA; Dana White during weigh ins for UFC 236 at State Farm Arena. Mandatory Credit: Adam Hagy-USA TODAY Sports

Back in December of 2014, the UFC agreed to a landmark deal that made Reebok the exclusive athletic wear provider of the UFC. The six-year deal was a huge step for the company that was seeking to fall more in-line with mainstream sports. However, over the past six years, the deal has received plenty of criticism from pundits and fighters. Many fighters said that they lost out on a ton of money from sponsors when the Reebok deal went into effect. The deal is expiring in December, and the world is starting to wonder what are the next steps for the UFC. Will they resign with Reebok or will they go in a new direction?

UFC President, Dana White, has hinted that the company would not be resigning with Reebok following the termination of the Reebok deal over the past couple of months. Then, White seemingly confirmed that when he announced on “The Schmozone Podcast” that the company would be moving in a different direction. “The Schmo” asked White if the UFC would sign with one of three companies: Nike, Under Armour, or Venom. White seemed hesitant to answer at first, but then replied, “Yes, it will be one of the three.”

The UFC & Nike

The one the jumps off the page as an early favorite to me would be Nike. Nike has a history with UFC athletes having sponsored Anderson Silva, Jon Jones, and Junior dos Santos in the past. Nike is known as the premier outfitter in American sports. Nike is the primary outfitter for the NFL, MLB, and the NBA. It would only make sense for the UFC to try to ink a deal with Nike to join the stable of sport leagues. It would seemingly legitimize the UFC even more than it already is. If I had to place a bet at this stage, I would say that Nike is the safest bet to replace Reebok in 2021.

The UFC & Under Armour

Under Armour is one that is fascinating for a number of reasons. UA is known as one of the biggest athletic apparel companies in the world, yet, the company isn’t the primary sponsor for any major sport league. UA is a major sponsor in the college ranks, but no professional league uses Under Armour as their primary sponsor. Under Armour sponsored UFC Hall of Famer, Georges St. Pierre, so they have experience with the sport. Maybe UA makes a big push to become the primary sponsor for the UFC. They will definitely be in the running, and I wouldn’t be shocked to see them become the sponsor.

The Underdog

The suggestion that caught me off guard was Venom. Venom has a long history with combat sports including sponsoring many UFC fighters over the years. They are a company that exclusively provides combat sports/workout apparel. Venom is currently the primary sponsor for the world’s best pound for pound boxer, Vasiliy Lomachenko. With the history in combat sports, it doesn’t surprise me to hear their name mentioned, but I’m not sure it’s entirely realistic. I could be 100% wrong, but in the end, I think the UFC will go a little more mainstream with their pick. I’m sure we will get our answer in the coming months on who will be taking over for Reebok in 2021. You can catch White’s full appearance on “The Schmozone Podcast” below.