Former UFC heavyweight champion Fabricio Werdum raised a lot of eyebrows after posting a photo of him donning Nike attire as a protest of Reebok’s stranglehold on the UFC’s sponsorship deals.
He captioned the Nike picture with rather crass hashtags, writing “I’m not generic, I’m Nike since childhood,” while using hashtags in Spanish that in English, translate to “suck my balls Reebok.”
“Vai Cavalo” elaborated on the scandalous photo on Facebook, revealing his deep-seated contempt for the UFC’s exclusive Reebok apparel deal that has drawn the ire of many disgruntled fighters.
“I was protesting,” Werdum said of the photo. “Actually, I’m not forced to use Reebok. I don’t have a contract with them. For people that don’t know, Reebok sponsors, well, sponsors, only during the fight and in the fight week you have to wear it [Reebok gear], it’s in the contract. In reality, I don’t have a deal with them to post outside the UFC. I can post whatever I want, if I want to post Kings MMA, I’ll post. If I want to post Nike or any other company or the sponsors I have, anything, so I’m not obligated.”
“For people saying I’d get in trouble, there will be no trouble. It was just a protest, something that before we could show any sponsor we wanted. We used to get real good money, it was a lot different from Reebok. Today, with Reebok there is a pay scale, if you have a certain number of fights you get $5.000, $8.000. Of course it’s good money, but nothing like it was before, so of course it was a protest.”
Werdum is set to rematch Cain Velasquez at UFC 207 in Las Vegas for the UFC’s annual end-of-the-year card. “Vai Cavalo” defeated Velasquez back at UFC 188, where he submitted the American Kickboxing Academy standout and took his heavyweight belt while doing so.
The Brazilian submission specialist lost the title in his first defense of the belt, succumbing to a brutal first round knockout at the hands of current champion Stipe Miocic at UFC 198.
How do you feel about Werdum’s protest regarding the UFC’s exclusive apparel partnership with Reebok? Will “Vai Cavalo’s” attempts at a Nike deal become a problem for the heavyweight contender and former champion? Sound off, PENN Nation!