The UFC apparently has a new official dress code for fighters (and other television talent) who are traveling on the UFC's dime for publicity tours and other marketing related events.
And at least one UFC champion isn't happy about it.
Lightweight title holder Benson Henderson took to his personal Facebook account to reveal a portion of the UFC's email instructing fighters that they're going to need to step up their clothes game when they're out and about promoting the organization.
Here's what the UFC sent out to all talent and fighters:
“Per Jackie, effective immediately, fighters and talent traveling on press tours and PR/marketing-related appearances are no longer permitted to wear shorts or flip flops. Jeans are acceptable and shoes are a must.”
Going forward, I'm going to refer to this as The Henderson Rule, named in honor of the lightweight champion who tends to rock a casual look at all times. Henderson's laid-back attitude extends to his clothing choices, and I've rarely seen him in anything other than a sponsor t-shirt, khaki cargo shorts and flip flops. And yes, that infamous toothpiece from the Nate Diaz fight last December is ever-present.
As you've probably guessed by now, Henderson isn't too keen on this new ruling:
Mwahahaha!!! Guess @ufc decided to make it official...I'm a start calling them the NBA...guess it's one thing to be encouraged to do or dress one way & entirely another thing to be told to do or dress one way...
Don't get me wrong, I'm gonna dress how my employers want but doesn't mean I gotta be happy about it..."Don't let the man hold you down" "Fight the power" "You can take my life but you can never take my FREEDOM!!!"
I give kudos to the UFC for wanting their athletes to look more like professional athletes. As Henderson alluded to, the NBA has a strict dress code that governs what the players can wear on the bench and when traveling between cities. The NBA also takes the code far beyond what the UFC has instituted:
The new dress code banned fashions most often associated with hip-hop culture, specifically: Hardwood Classics jerseys (or any other jersey), jeans, hats, do-rags, t-shirts, large jewelry, sneakers and Timberland style boots.
And you know what? NBA players, for the most part, exude professionalism, at least when it comes to how they look. They look sharp. Some of them still make unfortunate Craig Sager-style clothing decisions, but you get my point.
This is a good move by the UFC, and one that should be applauded. Mixed martial arts already has enough trouble finding acceptance with the majority of society as it is due to the fact that our athletes are punching and kicking each other in the face inside of a steel cage, often on a canvas stained with blood from fights that occurred earlier in the evening. Giving the athletes a clean look can't hurt.