Venum to replace Reebok as official UFC outfitting partner, fighters to earn more

Conor McGregor, Reebok, UFC, Venum
Image via Footwear News (photographer, original source not listed)

The UFC has selected apparel company Venum to replace Reebok as its new official athlete outfitting partner.

The UFC’s deal with Reebok began in 2015, and will conclude in 2021. As the end of this deal approached, there was widespread speculation as to which company would replace Reebok as the UFC’s now outfitting partner.

UFC President Dana White previously confirmed that Reebok would be replaced by one of Nike, Under Armour or Venum. In the end, the company decided on the latter.

The UFC’s partnership with Venum will commence in April, 2021. According to an official press release, this deal with put more money in the pockets of fighters, as the promotion will adjust its athlete outfitting pay scale, which has been the source of unending controversy throughout the Reebok deal.

“We’re pumped that Venum will be joining us as our new exclusive global outfitting and apparel partner,” UFC President Dana White stated in the release (h/t MMA Fighting). “Venum is an Iconic combat sports brand that understands the unique needs of MMA athletes. Franck Dupuis and his team at Venum have the technical knowledge and experience that will produce world-class UFC Fight Kits and apparel. We’re looking forward to collaborating with them on this next evolution of UFC’s outfitting program.”

While it remains to be seen how fighters will be compensated for wearing Venum in the Octagon, there is a huge opportunity for improvement.

Countless fighters have railed against the Reebok deal over the years. One of the latest to do so was surging bantamweight contender “Sugar” Sean O’Malley. 

“I got royalties from Reebok,” O’Malley said on Brendan Schaub’s Food Truck Diaries in June. “If I read it right, which I think I did—and I even sent it to my dad like, ‘Did I read this right?’ He said yes, so unless we both can’t read. They made over a million dollars on all my merch, and I got like $3,000.

“It’s ridiculous. I thought I got 15%, but they’re like ‘Well, you get 15% of this, but of this, and then these guys get it, and then you get 50% of that.’ I’m like holy sh*t,” O’Malley added. “Then, they make all these sweet shirts on Reebok … and I’m like don’t buy that!”

Suffice it to say that many fighters are surely welcoming a new arrangement with Venum.