Sure, it's only symbolic. But as far as symbols go, it's about as strong as you get in MMA.
The Resurrection Fighting Alliance promotion continues to strengthen its connection with the UFC Friday night when it becomes the first non-UFC organization to use the UFC's signature Octagon cage design. RFA uses the design thanks to a license from the UFC.
It's another big step for the upstart RFA, which on Friday will host RFA 9 at the StubHub Center in Carson, Calif. Unlike other regional promotions, the RFA has openly pursued and embraced a role as talent feeder for the UFC.
So far, the company—which is headed by Ed Soares, manager to MMA luminaries like Anderson Silva, Jose Aldo and Lyoto Machida—has succeeded on that front. RFA has signed top prospects like Lance Palmer, Sergio Pettis and Olympic wrestler Steve Mocco while graduating fighters like Brandon Thatch and James Krause to the UFC. In addition, RFA alums Bubba Jenkins and Jared Downing now compete for the Bellator promotion.
Along with the Octagon license, RFA officials this week announced a sponsorship deal with Adidas. It's the first such MMA deal for the sporting goods and apparel giant.
RFA airs Friday night on AXSTV and will be headlined by a bantamweight title bout between undefeated prospect Pedro Munhoz and UFC veteran Jeff Curran. The card also features Kevin Casey, an alum from The Ultimate Fighter, taking on undefeated Casey Ryan and Mocco looking to move to 3-0 as an MMA fighter against Lew Polley.
Swedish welterweight Chris Spang, a veteran of the UFC and Strikeforce, makes his RFA debut against unheralded Alan Jouban, while 25-year-old featherweight Jordan Rinaldi will try to bounce back from his first professional defeat by beating undefeated Brian Ortega, a product of the vaunted Black House MMA gym (which Soares co-founded).