It may not seem like a big deal on the surface, but the news that UFC light heavyweight champion Jon Jones has signed a global endorsement deal with industry giant Nike is one of the biggest bombshells in a long time.
The deal has been in the works for quite some time, and according to a report from MMAFighting, it was recently finalized. It's expected to be announced next week, but Jones has already tweeted a confirmation:
Blessed to be signed by the biggest sports apparel company in the world #NIKE Dreams do come true— Jon Bones Jones (@JonnyBones) August 8, 2012
As part of the deal, Jones will receive the works from Nike. Much like every other major athlete with a Nike contract, he'll have his own line of shoes and other clothing items, and he'll be featured in a major marketing effort from the company.
In the cage, Jones will no longer wear UFC-specific clothing. Instead, he'll be covered nearly head to toe in Nike gear.
I don't need to tell you how important a moment this is for the sport of mixed martial arts. Nike is one of the most recognized brands in the world and is a juggernaut in the sporting industry. Jones will be pushed as one of the premiere athletes in the world alongside some of the most recognizable faces in the market.
This is a major win for Jones, obviously, but it's also a major win for the UFC. Jones is one of the most marketable guys on its roster, and he's going to receive the most visible push into the mainstream of any mixed martial artist in history.