Yesterday the UFC fired Jacob “Stitch” Duran for comments the legendary cutman made in an interview regarding the financial hit he’d taken because of the Reebok deal and its ban on other sponsors.
Today, thanks to some serious backlash from the MMA community, Reebok took a step in distancing itself from the whole affair, tweeting that they’re only about clothes and gear, and responsibility for all the firing and compensation rests with the UFC.
UFC fans: We have no input on decisions of UFC employment or fighter compensation. Our focus is providing the best gear for fighters & fans.
— Reebok (@Reebok) July 22, 2015
Big deal, it’s just a tweet, right? Well, no. It’s a big deal in the sense that Reebok invested in the UFC so they could have access to the demographic the UFC has on lockdown, and that investment is worthless if it ultimately leads to splattering the brand with mud. For a company like Reebok, that tweet is a sign that there have been internal discussions on the hit their image has taken because of this deal, and the conclusion reached was that something should be done to protect themselves. It’s an indication that all is not well behind the scenes.
Want to truly hurt a company? Go after its sponsors. That’s the first rule of Corporate Fight Club, folks.