Venum Gives The UFC A New Look
The Ultimate Fighting Championship’s new apparel partner, Venum, was on display for its first pay-per-view event, UFC 261, this past weekend. After a six-year partnership with Reebok, Venun represents a new era for the UFC. Venum is not a well-known athletic apparel provider like Reebok, but they specialize in designing apparel and equipment for combat sports and martial arts. As Lawrence Epstein, COO of the UFC, said, “As good as the Reebok product was, Venum has taken this up a notch with just the quality of construction and the thoughtfulness of how our athletes will use the products.” Perhaps, the bigger advantage of Venum for the UFC and its athletes is the pay. UFC fighters receive a specific compensation per fight from Venum depending on their experience in the UFC. The new compensation structure provides a small increase in pay for the fighter. New UFC fighters in their first to third fight now receive $4,000 per fight from Venum. Under the Reebok deal, fighters only received $3,500. Similarly, Venum offers $42,000 for title defenders and $32,000 for title challengers. This is a $2,000 increase over what Reebok offered fighters in title fights.
The most important part of an apparel deal to fans is what the design of fight apparel looks like. Reebok was known for its boring but professional looking fight kits. Venum keeps a clean design, but they added more patterns and lines to the shorts and fight kit. I was initially skeptical of the look, but I have come around to really like the design. Venum’s logo, a snake, is certainly more noticeable than the Reebok logo. While some fans want the UFC to return to the sponsorship era of nearly a decade ago, I think the UFC has come a long way from that look. Fight-week sponsorships were banned in 2014, and fighters earn less money per fight without them. However, the sport and the UFC have grown immensely since then, and I think one of the reasons for that growth is the more professional look brought by Reebok and now Venum.