I was perusing BJPenn.com the other day, when I came across the breathtaking new t-shirt you see pictured. The first thing that caught my eye was its masterful design (props to Phil Frost of RVCA). The second thing that caught my eye was its name: Commemorative BJ Penn UFC 107 T-Shirt.
"Commemorative?" I thought to myself. "Why isn't it called the 'cornerman t-shirt' like all the others?"
I scrolled down a little further, where I found the following announcement:
Confused, I decided to do a little research.
Much to my surprise, RVCA was banned from the UFC in mid-November due to their sponsorship agreement with Fedor Emelianenko.
This is not the first time Dana has placed a sponsor on the UFC blacklist. Affliction Clothing was banned in 2008 when they began running their own promotion, and Clinch Gear, owned by Dan Henderson, was banned as soon as Henderson left the UFC. This makes perfect sense from a business standpoint, and I have no problems with it whatsoever.
But to ban RVCA for creating a Fedor t-shirt? Please.
If Dana is going to ban RVCA for something so trivial, then he should also do away with other brands, like, say, Hoelzer Reich.
For those of you who are unfamiliar with Hoelzer Reich, they are a German t-shirt company that currently sponsors several Zuffa fighters. Some of them include Joe Brammer, Mac Danzig and Donald Cerrone.
There is a lot of controvery surrounding Hoelzer Reich for a variety of reasons. To begin with, their logos depict images that are seen by many as anti-semitic (see below for pictures). On top of that, they sponsor several neo-Nazi bands, as well as Nikko Puhakka, a fighter with Nazi-themed tattoos.
Now before anyone gets mad, I am not accusing Hoelzer Reich, or any fighters affiliated with Hoelzer Reich, of being racist.
I am, however, pointing out that Hoelzer Reich's logos could be highly offensive to certain groups of people.
It surprises me that Dana is willing to overlook this minor detail. RVCA is banned from the UFC for sponsoring a fighter who refused to sign with them, yet Hoelzer Reich's sponsorship of Westwall, a neo-Nazi metal band, is okay?
To me, and many other UFC fans, BJ Penn and RVCA are synonymous with one another. RVCA is more than just a brand, it's a lifestyle. Who else in the world can recreate BJ's famous Black Belt shorts or Team Hawaii cornerman t-shirts? No one, that's who.
So Dana, if you happen to read this, PLEASE reinstate RVCA as a UFC sponsor immediately. Thank you.
UPDATE: Hoelzer Reich has since been banned from future UFC and WEC events.