The UFC’s hand is getting stronger and stronger, as they apparently forced TapouT to back out of their one-year, seven-figure sponsorship of Fedor Emelianenko.
To kick-off the partnership between the MMA clothing pioneer and the Russian heavyweight, TapouT created a shirt for Emelinaneko to wear tonight at “Strikeforce: Fedor vs. Werdum.”
“It was our understanding that the T-shirt was in production,” Fedor’s manager Vadim Finkelchstein told Sherdog.com Friday. “However, at the beginning of this week, we were told by our sponsorship representative that Tapout had received a call from [UFC President Dana White], which involved him saying that if Fedor signs a T-shirt deal with Tapout, then Tapout would be out of the UFC.”
According to M-1 Global’s director of operations, Evgeni Kogan, TapouT officials had assured them just before they were putting pen to paper that there would be no issues from the UFC.
Unfortunately, there WAS a problem and the deal went up in smoke. The threat of being banned by Octagon brass was too much for TapouT to chance.
“He’s used to these kind of fall outs from our friend Dana White, and to be honest, this didn’t come as a surprise (to him),” Finkelchstein said.
Just to make Emelianenko’s stateside return even more enjoyable, it appears he also lost out on another million-dollar sponsorship with RVCA. The UFC had allegedly threatened to ban that clothing company as well.