Francis Ngannou’s second-round knockout of heavyweight champ Stipe Miocic at Saturday’s UFC 260 marked the official end of the sport’s six-year apparel run with Reebok.
Venum, a brand known well to those who follow MMA, will now take over as exclusive global outfitting and apparel partner — a deal that reportedly won’t be as lucrative or long as UFC’s deal with Reebok.
The Reebok agreement was worth upward of $80 million over the life of the partnership. Fighters received much of the money generated from the deal that created the fighter incentive program, which coincided with the ban on fighters promoting other clothing and brands during fight week.
When the Venum deal was first announced last July, UFC said that there would be “across the board increases” in money paid to fighters under the deal.
The UFC’s fighter incentive program paid fighters between $3,500 to $40,000 per fight appearance, a total of about $40 million over the six years. UFC president Dana White called the Reebok-UFC partnership “groundbreaking” and said that it “elevated” both brands when he bid it farewell.
Roughly half the value of the Reebok deal came from merchandise to outfit fighters and members of their teams. A person with knowledge of the deal told Front Office Sports that the Reebok deal didn’t cover the full cost of the fighter incentive program.
Venum and UFC haven’t released images of the fight kits and apparel that fighters will wear starting in April, although a look at the gear leaked on Twitter earlier this month.
Reebok will remain the official UFC footwear provider through the end of 2021.