Elevated by a host of UFC stars including Ronda Rousey and Conor McGregor, Reebok unveiled a groundbreaking partnership last December with UFC, the world’s leading mixed martial arts organization, to become the exclusive authentic global outfitter of UFC, creating for the first time UFC ‘Fight Week gear’ and a ‘Fight Night kit’ for all UFC athletes. The six-year deal was reportedly valued at $70 million.
The kit, to be unveiled publically with the blockbuster pay-per-view event headlined by Chad Mendes vs. Conor McGregor on July 11, comes in three variations. The Champion kit will feature grey and black colors with gold trim, while the Country kit will feature nation-specific colors. The Universal kit will be black and silver and available to all UFC athletes. The UFC Fight Kit includes the official UFC walkout jersey, variations of the Octagon short, the Octagon skort, the walkout hoodie, and assorted performance tops for women.
At the event, Matt O’Toole, Reebok president, heralded the launch as a “landmark moment” for the UFC, MMA fans, UFC fighters and Reebok. “UFC athletes represent some of the toughest and most dedicated humans in the world and Reebok is proud to develop the first-ever dedicated kit to support and enable their greatness in the Octagon,” said O’Toole.
He added that the kits represent “a brand new look that will usher in a new era for UFC.”
Developed with numerous insights from UFC fighters and Reebok’s experience making uniforms for football and basketball, the collection features innovations that support strength, speed and flexibility, while allowing each athlete to prominently display their names and national pride.
“It’s about function but also achieving the right look that reflects the passion of the sport,” said Corinna Werkle, general manager, training business unit, Reebok, at the event.
In addition to Rousey and McGregor, the event drew 23 other UFC fighters, including Robbie Lawler, welterweight champion; Chris Weidman, middleweight champion; and Cain Velasquez, former heavyweight champion and current contender.
UFC President Dana White said he’s heard “nothing but positives” about the fit and feel of the kits from his league’s fighters. “This gear was built and designed specifically for MMA athletes,” said White. “Not only does it elevate the look of the sport – it revolutionizes the way they train, compete and perform.”
White said the four pillars defining the kits are:
- Flexibility: 360-degree multi-directional stretch fabric and laser cut side vents offer functional mobility. Anti-slipping technology ensures form fitting for every fighter position. Lightweight low-profile construction promotes weight reduction and streamlining. Werkle said, “If feels like a second skin.”
- Strength: Sublimated graphic execution and reinforced double welded seam sealing construction adds durability and reduced abrasion. Advanced seamless technology with no threads involved eliminates irritation.
- Customization: Features include country specific badging and athlete’s name with iconic on-garment placement.
- Comfort/Fit: PlayDry moisture management technology quickens drying time by rapidly moving moisture away from the body, allowing fighters to maintain optimum body temperature. Special attention was paid to cut and support. For instance, the collection will introduce the first sports bra designed for UFC fighters. Ronda Rousey told media attendees that she has in the
past had to change her fighting technique to avoid “flashing people” and has also worn two bras at one time in a fight for extra support.
Reebok also launched its Reebok Combat collection for those “who want to train like fighters,” said Todd Krinsky, VP at Reebok. Krinsky said “nothing is growing faster” than the sport of combat training, represented by CrossFit and other “tough fitness” activities. He noted that half of those who participate in combat training are women, 40 percent started over the last 12 months and many are UFC fans.
“MMA is an exciting sport that is on the forefront of fitness and conditioning and Reebok Combat offers a full collection of training apparel to support those who like to train like a fighter,” said Krinsky. “Reebok Combat is part of our holistic commitment to growth and support of MMA at all levels and we are excited to see the reaction to this brand new category from all corners of the world.”
In an interview with SGB, O’Toole said the Reebok Combat would start selling on Reebok.com, ufcstores.com, Reebok stores as well as in 50 in-store shops at The Sports Authority with bigger UFC fan-bases.
O’Toole said many UFC fans had been challenged to celebrate their fandom without an official UFC uniform. He noted that fans of Canadian welterweight champion Georges St-Pierre have been seen wearing Montreal Canadian jerseys at matches to show their support. But he said the Reebok Combat collection also taps an underserved opportunity to reach those embracing combat training.
“The UFC is very popular with our consumer who is a little bit younger, post-university person who likes to work out a lot and partake in obstacle races like the Spartan Race we endorse. It’s a lot of active people into these very intense activities. And we feel they need to be spoken to but they can’t find some of things they need at retail today.”