- By Pedro Carrasco of BJPENN.COM.
I am privy to certain details that I just got authorization to release to the public.
Initially, Fedor Emelianenko, the number one heavyweight fighter in the world, secured a deal to sport the always growing and ever popular “TapOut” clothing line at this weekend’s Strikeforce events.
However, during my time here in San Jose, while spending time with very legitimate sources close to the situation, I was advised that certain parties within the UFC halted TapOuts participation in the event and threatened a UFC lifetime ban, if Emelianenko came out wearing their line.
Similarly, In Fedor’s last outing he came out wearing the ever popular RVCA clothing line which resulted in the UFC’s temporary ban from the Orange County based lifestyle Apparel Company. We witnessed evidence of said ban when UFC star BJ Penn did not come out in his traditional RVCA gear during his title fight against Frankie Edgar.
RVCA has since made amends and as is now Octagon worthy once again. However TapOut was apparently not willing to take on the same gamble as their Orange County counterpart and pulled the deal from Fedor, just days before Strikeforce goes live.
In an industry monopolized by the UFC, getting banned from their fighters is a huge blow to any company trying to make it to the big stage. TapOut opted to keep their relationship with the UFC intact and the Russian based M-1 management team secured the deal with Dan Henderson’s Clinch Gear.
I do not want to get into bashing the UFC; it is after all a business. As every fan knows, they run a very aggressive ship out of Las Vegas and I can understand why they do what they do.
But what about Fedor? Arguably, the best fighter of all time has now had two major sponsors black listed from working with him due to the UFC’s stranglehold on the industry. Obviously, Dan Henderson has nothing to lose from this golden opportunity, so that is exactly why Fedor will be supporting Clinch Gear Tomorrow Night.
It makes one wonder, how much money in endorsements the UFC has cost Fedor in this fight, and any possible future fights from this point forward. The buck won’t stop at RVCA or TapOut; I think it’s safe to say that as long as Fedor is fighting on a different stage, the UFC will continually go after his sponsors in an attempt to halt any UFC related brand from entering a major event with one of the largest drawing fighters in the world.
The UFC and TapOut family is a long established relationship, their history is deeper than I have time to describe, and the leverage the UFC used against one of their longest partners really proves that no one is exempt from this policy.
Sorry A-Z T-shirt companies, Fedor is off Limits!