Jon Jones gets UFC sponsorship, Rashad: It is what it is

by Tom Ngo | source:

Sponsorships in sports can be extremely lucrative. As basketball great Alonzo Mourning said straight into the camera "I dont work for the NBA I work for Nike." MMA is not there, yet, but sponsorships can equal a fighter's purse.

When parent company K-Swiss decided to close FORM Athletics in 2011, UFC Lightheavyweight champion Jon Jones was left without a sponsor. There was some surprise when his sponsor for the massive fight vs. Rashad Evans at UFC 145 was named - in an unprecedented move, it was the UFC itself providing Jones' corner shirts, weigh in shirts, and fight shorts:

UFC Jon "Bones" Jones Cornerman Classic Tee (Pre-Order),,medium


UFC Electric Jon "Bones" Jones 145 Fight Shorts,Electric Blue,medium

 No other fighter in the organization received such sponsorship. Jon explains that it is all part of grand plan

“I’ve had a goal of being sponsored by Nike for many, many years,” Jones stated during a recent conference call. “Part of our strategy to try and make that happen one day is not be a billboard – not be sponsored by TapouT one week, and Affliction one week, Muscle Pharm next week and all these random companies.

“I try to look for long-lasting relationships with companies. So, a part of my brand is to keep it clean. Less is more, in my opinion. So, once FORM Athletics went down, pretty much every company in the business was looking for an opportunity to work with me. I thought it was a real honor, it was awesome, but we came up with a strategy to keep it clean and be sponsored by the UFC itself.

“They put in the deal that if any mainstream companies come after this win [at UFC 145], that they’ll let me go.”

“I’m glad the UFC wanted to work with me, as well. I think they trust that I will never make them look bad. You never have to worry about me getting a DWI or doing something crazy. I think I’m a good company guy.

“The UFC asks me to do anything and I always do it. I never tell them ‘no.’ I think I’ve had to do more marketing than any other fighter because I say no to absolutely nothing. I don’t think most champs are like that.”

Read entire article...

In an appearance on The MMA Hour, Rashad Evans reflected on the sponsorship.

"I guess it is what it is," said Evans. "It seems they got their guy that they're going to get behind, I guess. I can't really say too much about that. I just got to go in there and do what I need to do."

"I can't really worry about who they favor or who they may like. It doesn't change anything. If they're sponsoring him, it may seem that way. But you know, honestly, it doesn't matter if they favor him or not. They have guys they want to get behind, so if they want to get behind him, that's on them. It doesn't bother me though."

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Recent Comments »

TheIronCodpiece site profile image  

4/17/12 3:59 PM by TheIronCodpiece

The fact that it's his employer that's sponsoring him is questionable, esp because of a lot of the favoritism they've shown him, but it is a respectable move by the UFC. Wasn't Jon's fault Form went bankrupt (I think?) and aren't able to sponsor him anymore. Hopefully, they just gave him the same amount that the Form deal had, and not anything more

lordbreakdown site profile image  

4/17/12 2:20 PM by lordbreakdown

so.. did the UFC have to pay their own sponsorship fee? lol

birdo site profile image  

4/17/12 2:15 PM by birdo

It's good if Hashad wins brutally and becomes champ then he'll steal JJ's thunder no doubt, maybe some sponsors too.

The Academy site profile image  

4/17/12 2:12 PM by The Academy

If I had to guess, I would think all UFC fighters will eventually be wearing "UFC sanctioned shorts" made by Century. That being said, perhaps it will be a case of the red corner wearing red shorts, and the blue corner wearing blue shorts. Both would simply have the UFC logo.Keep in mind I'm using the logic employed by other pro sports franchises (i.e. players don't have their individual sponsors on their uniforms, but appear in ads).Just my 2 cents. Didn't mean to deviate from the main topic.

flip_guard site profile image  

4/17/12 5:10 AM by flip_guard

I don't think he does.

wutlol site profile image  

4/17/12 12:03 AM by wutlol

Why does the UFC want to sponsor him? If someone is watching a UFC they are already a fan.... Don't need to advertise the fact that UFC is what they are watching with a patch on JJs ass

The Loge site profile image  

4/16/12 11:10 PM by The Loge

God Jon Jones is so full of himself that now he is calling out Greek deities...

LilBrockonmychest site profile image  

4/16/12 10:59 PM by LilBrockonmychest

 I've also heard GSP have UA and Gatorade, but how come they aren't on his clothing?  Is it a weak sponsor like they give him all he can drink Gatorade for the year or something? I'd like to see JJ with black shorts and just the NIke swoosh on the back or something.  That's when you know he made it. GSP's shorts...they just say GSPFIGHTCLUB.COM on front and back.

fightharder site profile image  

4/16/12 10:44 PM by fightharder

Depressing,Their is really no other word for it. The biggest hottest prospect of the UFC in North America cannot even get a decent sponsor in arguable his biggest fight in his career. I thought the deal with Fox would bring in more mainstream sponsoring but it seems that mainstream companies in America do not want to touch MMA.I am also a little confused why K swizz could not keep the agreement going. I know it makes more commercial sense if you can see merchandise of the name of the athlete but they could have held on to Jones regardless of the downfall of their brand because they would consider him a marque name/prospect. Instead they just left the whole sport of MMA.Ooh and perhaps the other word might indeed be nepotism. It obviously sends the wrong message. If they want to support Jones that is fine (still a little embarrassing but what the hell) but they should also sponsor Rashad in an equal manner to negate rumors of bias and the implicaties that come with the move.I am beginning to root for Rashad .

DWray site profile image  

4/16/12 8:30 PM by DWray

It was Affliction that paid GSP.Affliction had been banned from the UFC, so they paid GSP to NOT have sponsors.It looked awesome. Plain black shorts with the fleur de lis.