Thursday, December 2, 2021

Junior dos Santos Lost Major Sponsorships While Under UFC Contract

Former UFC Heavyweight Champion Junior dos Santos says that he lost major sponsorships and endorsements during his time in the promotion.

In 2011, Junior dos Santos captured the heavyweight title against American Kickboxing Academy’s Cain Velasquez. The two went on to have one of the most legendary trilogies in UFC history. After losing four consecutive contests, “Cigano” was released from the promotion in March of 2021.

While many wondered what venture would be next for the former UFC heavyweight, it appears we have our answer. On Oct. 15, 2021, Junior Dos Santos made his professional wrestling debut. The former UFC champion came accompanied by Jorge ‘Gamebred’ Masvidal in his corner for his AEW Rampage debut.

Following his pro wrestling appearance, “Cigano” confirmed a story as true that detailed him losing sponsorship deals during his time as a UFC fighter, this after he was allowed to wear blue Nike shoes in his wrestling debut.

“True story” dos Santos confirmed when a Twitter user stated he lost many endorsements, including Nike, as a result of the UFC/Reebok deal.

UFC 260 marked the end of the Reebok era. The deal between Reebok and the UFC began in 2014. According to some reports, the six-year deal was estimated at roughly $70 million. Even though Venum took over fight kits and uniforms, combat athletes are still prohibited from wearing ‘outside’ sponsors on their uniforms during any UFC event.

Fighter pay has become a major issue in combat sports. Certainly, the extra money made from sponsorships/endorsements is a definite advantage, especially for young fighters who have yet to establish their name in the MMA landscape.

Fighters in the UFC remain unable to wear sponsorship patches on their shorts/trunks. Recently, the premier fighting organization signed a massive deal with Crypto.com as an official sponsorship partner for all UFC athletes. With endorsements already appearing on Venum fight kits, it will be interesting to see if the UFC adds more.

Do you agree with how the UFC handles endorsement/sponsorship deals?

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