UFC announces deal with Venum to replace Reebok as exclusive outfitting partner in April 2021

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Venum will take over as the UFC’s new apparel partner beginning in April 2021, the promotion announced Friday. The UFC’s apparel deal with Reebok runs through March 2021, but the company will stay on as the UFC’s official footwear brand through the end of next year, per a release.

Unlike Reebok, Venum is a company which focuses mainly on combat sports and martial arts and has since it was founded in France in 2006. Before the relationship between the UFC and Reebok, many fighters had Venum as a sponsor.

Reebok represented a major name brand affiliated with the UFC, which at the time was striving for mainstream acceptance. But it was a rocky relationship. The initial rollout featured extremely generic looking fight gear, rife with the misspelling of athlete’s names. Fighters and managers were critical of the amount of money athletes stood to lose without sponsor patches on fight gear allowed. On top of that, there was concern that every fighter wearing the same uniform would strip the sport, which has its fair share of over-the-top characters, of its individuality.

The dynamic between the UFC and Reebok did improve over time. The UFC desired a cleaner look and presentation on television and pay-per-view and in that aspect Reebok was viewed as a success. The guaranteed, consistent money that came from Reebok became more welcome to some fighters – especially the ones not at the top of the card – compared to having to scratch and claw for sponsors every fight.

Source: ESPN

Lululemon apologizes after art director advertises ‘Bat Fried Rice’ shirt; fires employee

Lululemon is apologizing after its art director shared a “bat fried rice” t-shirt design on social media that has been slammed online as “racist” and “anti-Asian” amid the coronavirus pandemic.

On Sunday, Trevor Fleming, the senior global art director of Lululemon, shared a link on Instagram to the t-shirt design first shared by California artist Jess Sluder. (Fleming’s Instagram account has since been deleted.)

The design featured a Chinese take-out box decorated with bat wings and the words “no thank you” on the back. The shirt, titled “Bat Fried Rice,” was listed for purchase at $60 before it was taken down.

Source: USA Today