UFC president Dana White recently said that UFC uniforms were coming, for both fighters and corners. Rumor has it - and it is just rumor - that Under Armor bought the extraordinary Roots of Fight, and the UA will be the official supplier of UFC uniforms.
Further rumor says that the uniform will include mandatory fight shorts, walkout shirt, and hat. Space on the gear will apparently be provided for fighter sponsors, and perhaps for UFC sponsors, and well as of course the UFC brand and the apparel brand.
Thus far the issue has raised far more questions than answers, most notably, what will fighters get paid for wearing branded apparel?
Newly signed UFC women's strawweight Felice Herrig expressed concern that she will no longer be able to don her choice of apparel, which has proven to be remarkably compelling, as can be seen below.
"I design and custom make all my weigh in and fight outfits," wrote Herrig. "So for me this is a very big deal and a very big part of my brand and image.
"A lot of fighters like myself get paid more money from sponsors and a lot is based on marketability and the style I bring to weigh ins and also the fights. Taking that away takes a lot away from what they are trying to do as far as getting people hooked to WMMA.
"It's called business and regardless of what some people might think there is a lot more to a fighters business than just the act of them playing their sport."
Herrig later expanded on the remarks, via Facebook:
Seems my Instagram comments/replies about the UFC uniforms is causing a bit of noise. Let me be clear about this. I just like my swag. I get what the UFC is trying to do and how a lot of fighters in today's market could and would benefit from it because sponsorship dollars are just down a lot!
Also it would ensure that incidents like "the Cody McKenzie shorts debacle" wouldn't happen again. That was a disaster and I understand why the UFC wants to set a higher standard.
But not all of us would benefit form this and for the ones that do take pride in their individuality it does sound like it will stink. I like my individuality and take a lot of pride in creating my fight themes and outfits... It's kind of therapy for me leading up to a fight, and I have developed it over the years. I think it has helped me create my own look and personal brand so to speak.
So while I am personally not excited about the thought of a "uniform", I don't want to jump to conclusions before details are out. I am hopeful that the UFC recognizes some of these concerns and are doing what they can to try make this work for everybody. Please don't go on a witch hunt to my employer because regardless of this I am very thankful for the big picture and the opportunities that Zuffa and the UFC have and will give me.
Herrig's very reasonable concerns aside, there is every expectation that she not fail to find creative ways to further her sponsors, regardless of what final decisions the UFC makes about uniforms.
Follow Felice on Twitter...