MMAPayout.com has confirmed a rift between the UFC and MMA apparel and collectible company MMA Authentic, best known for its CageFighter brand. MMAPayout.com has learned through multiple sources that CageFighter and other MMA Authentics brands have been banned from the Octagon and any UFC event.
The dispute is rumored to have arisen from a conflict over shelf space in Wal-mart stores. Sources told MMAPayout.com that CageFighter/MMA Authentics beat out the UFC for the valuable real estate in the nation’s top retailer. As a result Zuffa pulled the plug on MMA Authentics’ access to the Octagon in retaliation.
The UFC is able to take such measures by exercising Article 22.1 of the Zuffa Standard Contract, which states that “Fighter covenants and agrees that no wording, symbols, pictures, designs, names or other advertising or informational material… ii. of any sponsor in conflict or competition with Zuffa or any of Zuffa’s sponsors.”
According to the UFC Sponsor Request form sent out to all fighters and obtained by MMAPayout.com, “in addition to Affliction and the Xtreme Couture t-shirt brand, Cage Fighter, MMA Authentic, Familia Gladitoria and MMA Elite will also not be permitted. The Xtreme Couture Training Center is permitted provided, however, the logo must clearly refer to the mixed martial arts training centers and gyms.”
CageFighter and MMA Authentics has a impressive list of fighters who will be adversely affected by the ban. BJ Penn, Michael Bisping, Forrest Griffin, Marcus Davis, Brandon Vera, Urijah Faber, Sam Stout, Roger Huerta, and Chuck Liddell all have signature shirts available for purchase through one or more of the MMA Authentics brands.
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In a follow-up to our report yesterday concerning the UFC’s ban of CageFighter, MMAPayout.com has spoken with a source with close ties to Wal-Mart that has been in contact with the corporation since the ban was enacted. An executive at Wal-Mart with knowledge of the negotiations was reportedly quoted as saying “the UFC felt they were just going to walk in and get it. They were unreasonable all the way across the board.”
The UFC’s attitudes and actions may impact CageFighter in the short term, but may cause long term damage to present and future relationships with the retailing giant. Wal-Mart is a key outlet for the UFC when it comes to their DVD distribution. Bad relations with the Bentonville, Ark-based corporation could mushroom outwards from their apparel ambitions to their DVD business as well precluding future business opportunities between the UFC and Wal-Mart.
According to a report by John Joe O’ Regan of Fighter’s Only:
UFC sources told Fighters Only during the build-up to UFC 89 last week that a ban was on the cards, but no official statements were made.
The ban looks to have been formulated and enacted at the show itself, as there were no Cage Fighter shirts or signage in sight at the event.