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10th Nov 2015

Brazil legend Ronaldo severs links with UFC over ‘unfair’ Reebok contract

'Hurts athletes'

Gareth Makim

A marketing agency owned by Brazilian football superstar Ronaldo has ended its relationship with the UFC due to his opposition to the organisation’s sponsorship deal with Reebok.

The World Cup winner’s firm, 9ine Sports & Entertainment, has worked with Brazilian UFC stars such as Anderson Silva, Vitor Belfort and Junior dos Santos, but claim the Reebok arrangement “directly hurts all athletes from the organisation, and also the companies that supported and backed the UFC for many years”.

Reebok and the UFC agreed a deal that sees fighters wear only Reebok branding and sponsorship during the week of a bout, paying fixed amounts in place of their previous policy which allowed competitors to arrange their own, often lucrative, deals.

A statement from 9ine outlined its stance on the matter:

The agency does not believe in the new model adopted by the company in attracting sponsorship and believes that this directly hurts all athletes from the organization, and also the companies that supported and backed the UFC for many years.

We have principles based on the vision of a former athlete and sports fan. Our president, Ronaldo Nazario, does not tolerate seeing an organization change its sponsorship funding rules and fighter remuneration — arbitrarily — without taking a stand.