It’s a notion made abundantly clear based on countless stories thus far: UFC fighters, though not all of them, have lost out on lots and lots of money due to the UFC’s decision to bring on an exclusive apparel sponsorship with Reebok.
Several of the promotion’s biggest names, including Junior dos Santos and Vitor Belfort, recently lost out on more as former Brazilian soccer star Ronaldo and his 9ine Sports & Entertainment marketing company have decided to cut ties with any fighter competing under the UFC banner. The company made it clear that the decision came as a direct result of the promotion’s relationship with Reebok, as the “deal hurts all athletes from the organization, and also the companies that supported and backed the UFC for many years.”
From a business standpoint, Belfort’s wife, Joana Prado, says she understands why 9ine would want to disassociate itself with any of the fighters in the UFC. If anything, this situation is no different than when several other sponsors decided to back out as well.
“Vitor has lost millions for years because of the new sponsorship policy,” she told ESPN (h/t BloodyElbow). “Thank God he is an athlete whose reach goes beyond the cage and he has other businesses. Fighting has become a hobby, but he was harmed much like the other fighters with this new business model. We have a great relationship with Ronaldo and all the 9ine crew. We wish them success.”
Belfort last fought at UFC Fight Night 77, defeating Dan Henderson via knockout in the first round.