The UFC has announced a new partnership with the former WWE superstar, Dwayne Johnson, who collaborated with Under Armour to launch new sneakers. While ‘The Rock’ is adored and respected worldwide, especially by WWE fans and movie buffs, some UFC fighters might not share the same feeling, especially after Johnson’s sportswear deal with the UFC.
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Returning to the deal, let’s find out why the fighters are not pleased with the Rock.
What is the Rock’s footwear deal with the UFC?
Late in August, the UFC disclosed a multi-year collaboration with Project Rock, a venture between Dwayne Johnson and Under Armour to manufacture co-branded footwear that will be distributed to athletes as part of their official gear for matches. During fight-week events, training, and their walk to the octagon, all UFC competitors and corner squads are mandated to wear Project Rock footwear.
The collaboration was formalized during UFC Fight Night: Tiuvasa vs. Gane, which took place on September 3, 2022.
Johnson stated in a UFC news release that the warriors of UFC battle in their famous Octagon with dignity, passion, purpose, and MANA. Legacy is a very essential element to me, and Project Rock is delighted to provide training gear to all UFC competitors who aspire to develop their own enduring legacy in UFC and even beyond.
This month, Project Rock launched a new ad campaign in which Dwayne Johnson referred to fighters as the “hardest workers in the room” and other UFC participants praised the actor’s dedication to the sport.
Why The Rock’s Footwear Deal with the UFC could be Negative for Fighters
Nevertheless, not everyone is delighted with the cooperation, particularly the warriors! UFC Champion and veteran Nate Diaz first criticized The Rock for his recently disclosed footwear agreement with the UFC.
Terrance McKinney, Kendra Lust, and, most recently, the Brazilian superstar Paulo Costa are a few other noteworthy figures who have spoken out against the contract. The Brazilian even mocked the Rock on Twitter by sharing a meme claiming that ‘secret juice sneakers’ are superior to those of the Rock’s company.
A few fighters have criticized the contract’s manipulative nature, despite others’ assertions that the shoes are subpar. Notably, the agreement was negotiated with the UFC rather than with the combatants.
During the promotion to his fight against Tony Ferguson, Nate Diaz relentlessly criticized ‘Project Rock’ shoes. Diaz appeared to be annoyed that he had to wear the sneakers to the weigh-in and media interview. In a conversation with Megan Olivi, Nate Diaz stated that the shoes were awful: “These f***ing sneakers stink! Take a look at these sneakers. They forced me to put this sh ** on. F*** these shoes!”
It is worth mentioning that this section of the interview was promptly erased. It was not made public because it could have jeopardized the current relationship between Dwayne Johnson and the UFC.
Notably, the UFC has been able to preserve a monopoly over its roster for a long time, as its fighters are independent contractors. They are not associated with any union or club to negotiate contracts collectively for their interests.
What is your opinion on the deal?