Once upon a time, a UFC fighter would've been lucky if he was able to get a sponsor, and if he did manage to get one, he had to have the words "Condom Depot" emblazoned on the back of his shorts or have drawn on his body an advertisement for an online betting company. But the times they are a-changin'. While the UFC is currently "corn to the core" and cuddled up in bed with Harley-Davidson, one top fighter has just signed a contract with the mother of all sponsors. More after the jump!
- UFC light-heavyweight champ and part-time car wrecker Jon Jones has signed with Nike, according to the venerable Mike Chiappetta at MMAFighting. This. Is. Huge. As it's a global sponsorship and Jones will reportedly receive his own line of Nike-branded accoutrement, the champ — and the sport — will get exposure like never before. Plus, nothing says "mainstream" like a Nike sponsorship.
As usual, MMAPayout has some valuable insight:
If you thought that Jon Jones was one of the highest profile UFC fighters around, you could probably confirm that with the new Nike deal, he will be the most visible worldwide. The deal indicates that the global sportswear maker is dipping its foot in the Octagon which can only be a good thing for MMA and the UFC. The deal creates a new level of earning potential for Jones and a lofty goal for other UFC fighters. At this point, I would think that the Swoosh may be on a "wait and see" approach with the sport as it relates to sponsoring others. But, if the Jones line of clothing is a hit, we may see more of the familiar logo in the Octagon.
- Strikeforce female bantamweight champ and resident arm-ripper-offer Ronda Rousey has a title defense coming up on August 18, and last night her first "All Access" episode aired on Showtime. In it, UFC president Dana White extolls her virtues, past opponent Miesha Tate shows off her prosthetic limb (which she was forced to get after Rousey took her arm), and Rousey's boxing coach talks about how at first he ignored her but then came around when he realized she was going to be a bigger star than any moke that ever set foot in his gym. I suspect Rousey also fights crime in her spare time, but as Maggie Hendricks pointed out, she probably has to keep that secret. See the episode here.
- UFC welterweight Josh Koscheck hurt his back in training, so his UFC 151 bout against Jake Ellenberger is off. Taking his place will be erstwhile Octagon veteran (seriously, he last fought in the UFC back in 2005) Jay Hieron. Hieron's been pretty much fighting everywhere else, so hey, why not do a UFC bout? This bout is also actually a rematch — the two met at an International Fight League event in June, 2006; Hieron took the unanimous decision.
That's it for now, amigos.