To some it would look like the UFC is putting their sights on Jon Jones coming out of this weekends fight with the belt in tact, because the UFC is now the sole sponsor of light heavyweight champion Jon Jones. When you see Jon walk out this Sat., his shorts will not have multiple brands littered all over his shorts, he will not be drinking a random energy drink after the fight, or be putting on an affliction t-shirt. All you will see is the letters ‘UFC’ on Jones. The whole situation seems a little questionable, but Jones feels it was the right move.
“For this fight, I have a goal, I’ve had a goal of being sponsored by Nike for many, many years. Part of our strategy to try and make that happen one day is to not be a billboard, and not just be sponsored by TapouT one week, and Affliction one week, and then MusclePharm next week, and all these random companies. If you realize, I try to look for relationships with companies, long lasting relationships with companies. So a part of my brand is to keep it clean. Less is more in my opinion. When Form Athletics went down pretty much every company in the business was looking for an opportunity to work with me… We came up with a strategy to keep it clean and be sponsored by the UFC itself. I’m glad the UFC wanted to work with me as well, and I think that they trust that I’ll never make them look bad… I think I’m a good company guy. The UFC asks me to do anything and I always do it, and I never tell them no for anything… I think they realized I’m a company guy and they decided to sponsor me. They put in the deal that if any mainstream companies come after this win that they will let me go.”
Some would think that Rashad Evans would look at this as a negative, but you would be wrong. He only has the fight and the outcome on his mind. Even if the UFC seems to be showing a little favoritism.
“It seems they got their guy that they’re going to get behind, I guess. I can’t really say too much about that. I just got to go in there and do what I need to do. I can’t really worry about that. I can’t really worry about who they favor or who they may like. It doesn’t change anything. If they’re sponsoring him, it may seem that way (that UFC is favoring Jones). But you know, honestly, it doesn’t matter if they favor him or not. They have guys they want to get behind, so if they want to get behind him, that’s on them. It doesn’t bother me though.”
This turn of events has to seem a little strange to most regular fans. It has always been seen that the company will stand behind its fighters, and even more behind its champions, but this seems to take it to another level of favoritism. Could this be something we will see for fighters down the road?