UFC light heavyweight champion Jon Jones is about to become a much higher-profile athlete under the Nike banner.
The fighter, who broke ground for MMA fighters when Nike signed him to a global sponsorship deal this past August, today tweeted the first images of the shoes that bear his name.
The sneakers, as well as “Bones Jones” T-shirts, go on sale on Nike.com on Friday at 9 a.m. ET. Additionally, as Jones’ manager, Malki Kawa, today told MMAjunkie.com (www.mmajunkie.com), they’ll be available at Niketown New York and Niketown Las Vegas.
“It was definitely a goal when we sat down with them,” Kawa said of the shoe and T-shirts. “Signing with Nike was a big accomplishment for Jon.
“We wanted them to use Jon as one of their great Nike athletes. We always believed in Jon, but this shows how much they believe in him as well.”
The timing of the release couldn’t come at a better time for Jones (17-1 MMA, 11-1 UFC), who headlines next week’s UFC 159 event with challenger Chael Sonnen (27-12-1 MMA, 6-5 UFC). Both fighters recently served as head coaches on “The Ultimate Fighter 17,” and they now meet in the headliner of the April 27 pay-per-view event at Prudential Center in Newark, N.J.
Jones isn’t the only MMA fighter that Nike sponsors, though his global deal is the most high-profile, especially in the U.S. Notables such as Anderson Silva and Junior dos Santos have signed deals that are largely specific to Brazil.
Soon after the deal was initially announced, Jones told MMAjunkie.com he hoped it’d open the door for other major companies to consider MMA sponsorship.
“It’s definitely a magnificent thing — but not only for me,” Jones said. “It’s huge for me to be the first mixed martial artist to be placed alongside the names of LeBron and Kobe and Michael Jordan. Nike-endorsed athletes are the elite of the elite. But it’s huge for everybody. It lets all the Fortune 500 companies know that it’s OK to invest in MMA.”
For more on UFC 159, stay tuned to the UFC Rumors section of the site.
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