Sorry, UFC and your “groundbreaking” Reebok deal. Anderson Silva (pictured) is a fellow loyal and diehard Nikehead. Although the former UFC middleweight king is no longer sponsored by the world famous Swoosh, he arrived in Las Vegas this week for his UFC 183 fight with Nick Diaz donning a pair of Nikes.
While every UFC athlete and their team will be required to exclusively wear Reebok during fight week beginning July 6, Silva claims he’s not about to betray a brand that he’s worn since before becoming famous just because someone else scored a lucrative pact.
“I do not like this idea,” Silva told esportes.terra.com.br of being forced to wear Reebok (via Google Translate). “When you use a brand, it needs to be true, there must be a connection. I do not have any identification with Reebok. I always used Nike, even before my contract. I will stop using just because my contract is up. It is a brand that I identify with. It’s no use putting a brand that I do not have a relationship with.”
Silva was the first UFC fighter to be a global endorser of Nike, the planet’s premier apparel company. His contract with Nike recently expired and was not renewed, along with Jon Jones and Junior dos Santos, because Nike decided they didn’t want to invest in mixed martial arts.
Silva revealed in October that he was hoping to work something out with Adidas, which happens to own Reebok. However, that was before the UFC announced in December they secured an exclusive deal with Reebok.
“I will not use [Reebok] because it will not be true, I cannot get through to my fans something that is not true,” Silva continued about his devotion to Nike. “Still I did not renew my contract with Nike, but I don’t wear them because they are the stronger brand, but because I’ve always used. In fact, not only me but my whole family only wear Nike and Adidas.”
As of now, very little is known about how the UFC will divvy up the reported $70 million they got for their six-year agreement with Reebok. UFC CEO Lorenzo Fertitta claimed the fighters will get “the vast majority” of that money.
Fighters will be paid a presently-unknown amount according to their ranking.
Champions and the more marketable athletes, which include Silva, negotiate their own deals with Reebok and earn the largest checks. Everyone else is tiered based on ranking (1-5, 6-10, 11-15 and 16+ receive a flat salary).
Fighters will also receive a 20 percent cut on the back end for anything Reebok sells that contains their likeness.
Wanna hear my prediction? Silva will be singing a different, Reebok is fantastic tune come June.