UFC bantamweight prospect Sean O’Malley is starting his own apparel line after “getting sh*t” from the oft-criticized UFC-Reebok deal.
The UFC and Reebok agreed to a six-year, $70 million deal in 2014 to become the promotion’s official clothing sponsor until 2020. However, the deal has been harshly criticized by fans, fighters and media since then, with many accusing the UFC of not dishing out enough of the money to the fighters. The fighters are not able to have individual sponsorships in the cage and during fight week due to the Reebok deal, which further hurts their wallets in a deal that greatly favored the UFC over the athletes.
With the deal running to its end later this year, UFC president Dana White has already confirmed his company is talking to other major apparel companies such as Nike, Under Armour and Venum to take over for Reebok when the deal ends. There is optimism that this new deal could be more favorable to the fighters, but with no assurances that’s the case, some fighters like O’Malley are working on their own apparel lines in the meantime in order to make back the money they should have got from the Reebok deal.
Speaking to MMAFighting.com’s Damon Martin, O’Malley blasted the UFC-Reebok deal and explained why he’s starting his own clothing line.
“The whole Reebok thing is insane. I think it was back-to-back years that it was over a million dollars (of merchandise sold). I know one year for sure, I don’t want to say anything that’s not true but I have it in my e-mails, I think it was back-to-back years they did over a million dollars with the shirts and whatever else they sell on Reebok and I got $3,000 and $5,000 I think for those. Absolutely insane,” O’Malley said.
“People are always like ‘I love the Reebok shirts, where can I get them?’ I’m like don’t [buy them]. I ain’t getting sh*t from them… We’re dropping my own merch line soon and I think it’s going to be fun. That’s something I’ve always wanted to do, too, get into the ‘Suga’ brand, the clothing, and I think it’s slowly going to build like any business and be something really cool.”
With O’Malley emerging as one of the sport’s biggest and brightest stars, being proactive and trying to capitalize on that while he can is a great idea. In a sport where the longevity of the athletes is less than other sports, it’s always smart to cash in when you can, and hopefully, O’Malley can do well in his new venture.
Do you think more fighters should be like Sean O’Malley and start their own apparel lines due to the issues of the UFC-Reebok deal?