UFC and Reebok: A Detailed Look at the UFC's New Athlete Outfitting Policy

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UFC and Reebok: A Detailed Look at the UFC's New Athlete Outfitting Policy
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LAS VEGAS — On Wednesday, the Ultimate Fighting Championship outlined its new Athlete Outfitting Policy in a document sent to managers of all fighters currently on the roster.

The document, obtained by Bleacher Report, details nearly every aspect of the new policy with the exception of what each fighter can expect to be paid from the new UFC partnership with Reebok. But while the monetary details remain a mystery, the document answers many questions posed after the announcement of the deal—first reported by Bleacher Report last February—late last year.

The document opens with a letter from UFC CEO Lorenzo Fertitta and UFC President Dana White explaining some of the reasoning behind the partnership.

"The iconic look that will be created by the outfitting policy will elevate the message we communicate as the leaders in the sport," White and Fertitta said in the letter. "The apparel is built for MMA training and MMA fighting, bringing the newest technology available to our sport."

The newly created UFC Equipment Department is overseen by Ember Morr, vice president of Consumer Products. Beginning with this weekend's Boston card, the promotion will hold mandatory "informational sessions" with each fighter participating on the card that will detail the program and answer any questions they may have. They'll also begin working with each fighter to develop styles for their individual merchandise. These sessions will be overseen by Tracey Bleczinski, senior vice president of the Consumer Products Department.

The new UFC Equipment Department will have a team stationed at each fight card. The positions are as follows: equipment director, three equipment managers and an equipment coordinator. The responsibilities of these new positions are not specified in the document.

Fighters ranked in the UFC's official rankings will be the first to pick the color of their products. For a bout between two ranked fighters, the higher ranked fighter receives first selection; the lower-ranked fighter is required to pick a contrasting color. Unranked fighters will work with matchmakers to select a color. 

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Conor McGregor, Jon Jones, Ronda Rousey and others have already signed with Reebok

Upon arriving in the host city and checking in with Zuffa officials, each fighter will be issued Reebok products to wear for open workouts, media day, weigh-ins and press conferences. This product handout will include: a gym bag, a hoodie, a T-shirt, workout shorts, weigh-in shorts, weigh-in walkout sweatpants, a weigh-in T-shirt, weigh-in walkout hoodie, a weigh-in hat, underwear, socks and shoes. Female fighters will also receive sports bras.

Each fighter's corner people are also required to wear Reebok material, and they will receive the gear upon check-in. If a fighter's corner refuses to wear the product, their fighter will be subject to "penalties, fines and may be removed from the fight." 

For open workouts, each fighter is required to select clothing from the following list: hoodie, T-shirt, workout shorts, underwear, socks and shoes. Female fighters will wear a sports bra.

For press conferences, fighters are allowed to wear Reebok/UFC apparel, or they may opt to wear business or business casual attire with no visible logos or trademarks.

For weigh-ins, fighters must select from the walkout product given to them upon check-in.

Upon arrival at the fight venue, each fighter will receive: fight shorts, walkout shirt, walkout hoodie, walkout hat and walkout sweatpants. Female fighters will receive their fight sports bra and fight tank top. Fight shorts will either be vale-tudo or board-short style, and no bikini-style shorts are allowed.

The document states that "fighters are paid for complying with the policy. Fighters are paid by the UFC within 10 business days of their fight. Fighters are paid based on the UFC fighter pay scale and their official ranking at the time of weigh-in."

Fighters are responsible for replacement costs for lost merchandise. If a fighter does not wear the merchandise, they will be subject to penalties ranging from monetary fines all the way to being removed from the fight. Each penalty will be based on the individual infraction.

The UFC logo may not be covered in any way, and outside logos may not be added to any product. But the UFC does reserve the right to add a sponsor logo to every single product worn by each fighter during the fight week, which leaves space for individual fight card sponsorship from outside sponsors.

If a fighter elects to wear headphones, they must be Octagon by Monster headphones.

After each fight, the fighter is required to select one piece of their official walkout gear—the product they physically wore to the Octagon (not including underwear)—and return it to the UFC equipment manager. This could include the hoodie, hat, shorts or anything else worn during the walkout. This portion of the policy leads one to believe the UFC will ramp up its efforts to begin selling "fight-worn" gear from each fighter.

In addition to all fight week-related activities, fighters must also wear Reebok apparel for any UFC-produced show. This includes (but is not limited to): Road to the Octagon, UFC Embedded, UFC Tonight, UFC Countdown, Ultimate Insider and The Ultimate Fighter

In an FAQ at the end of the document, the promotion gives a quick answer regarding how the money from the Reebok partnership will be divvied up.

"The UFC is distributing the vast majority of the revenue received from this partnership to the athletes," the document says. A percentage of all sales of Reebok gear will be donated to Fight for Peace, a nonprofit organization "which combines boxing & martial arts with education and personal development in communities affected by crime and violence."

The Athlete Outfitting Policy also means the end of in-cage sponsor banners.

The policy goes into effect on July 6, 2015, during the UFC's next International Fight Week in Las Vegas. Several UFC stars are already signed to Reebok deals , including Jon Jones , Ronda Rousey , Johny Hendricks , Anthony Pettis and Conor McGregor .

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