Earlier this month UFC President Dana White confirmed that his
promotion is exploring a deal to standardize uniforms for fighters,
which prompted pushback from former middleweight title challenger
and current women’s strawweight Felice
Miletich has entered the debate, and he doesn’t think the
uniforms would be a good deal for fighters.
“This is not the NFL,” the former UFC welterweight champion told
Radio Network’s “Beatdown” show. “These guys are not under
certain contracts with their teams. They don’t get 50-plus percent
of all sales of all clothing and memorabilia and everything else
like players do in the NFL and Major League Baseball and everything
else. So quite frankly, I think it’s bulls--t. That’s just the way
Miletich, a color commentator for AXS TV, compared the situation to
his time as a coach in the International Fight League. He said he
was contacted by Muscle Milk to sponsor his team, the Silverbacks,
but that the IFL intervened and instead struck a deal for Muscle
Milk to sponsor the entire league.
“Suddenly I got an email from the IFL saying that they had signed
Muscle Milk to a league deal and that all teams would be forced to
wear the Muscle Milk logo on their uniforms on the way out to the
cage and in the fights,” Miletich recalled. “All the coaches got
this email; everybody got the email. So I wanted to make sure
everybody got my reply, and I sent back an email and I said, ‘You
pirated my sponsorship,’ and I said, ‘The Silverbacks will not be
wearing the Muscle Milk logo. As a matter of fact, we’re going to
make sure we take markers and black them all out on our uniforms
and you can kiss my ass.’”
Miletich said he then got a call from an IFL executive, to whom he
explained how much money his team had lost from the demise of the
original sponsorship proposal.
“Everybody was going to get an even piece of that,” Miletich said
he told the executive, “and that’s how much I’m going to get or you
can kiss my ass and we’re not wearing those logos out to the cage.
And they buckled. They sent me a check. I showed all the fighters
[on the Silverbacks] the check and then I cut them all a check out
A standoff might be much more difficult in the UFC, but that
doesn’t change Miletich’s viewpoint on uniforms.
“I can go on and on and on about this stuff, but it’s bullying and
a lot of the sponsors that used to sponsor fighters don’t do it
anymore because many of them were forced, from what I understand,
to pay the UFC a certain amount of money to even have the right to
do that, and they couldn’t afford it,” he said. “I understand the
UFC is running a business and I don’t blame them for that, but at
the same time the athletes, at some point, need to get involved and
stand together and say you know what? That’s enough.”
Listen to the full
interview (beginning at 1:02:17).
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