I agree with the initial piece that sparked a rebuttal in which you'll find below. Robert Joyner of MMAPayout speaks with a manager/agent within the MMA world in regards to sponsors(namely MMA clothing/apparel companies in this piece) being hurt by the recession. The manager indicates that the recession is having a direct impact on the fighters:
While in a lot of ways I agree with the quote today on Gen Y. BUT, the affects are still hitting the athletes. A lot of clothing companies were started using home equity and 401K’s to get in on the phenomenon that is MMA only to find out it is a UFC world. This is where the effect is coming from the heloc (home equity lines of credit) lines are used up, 401Ks drawn down. (An MMA Apparel company owner) told me an event he is only sponsoring (Fighter X) because they gave him terms, another clothing company sent me an email about sponsoring one of my fighters and said "my tax refund will be back by that fight so I think I can swing it". (Apparel owner) told us he hopes he can sell enough shirts from the exposure that night to pay the fighter. The fact is a lot of the money is drying up. Guys are finding less and less "non-fight gear" companies and more and more restrictions from fight gear companies. Most of the MMA apparel companies will tell you they have a hard tome measuring the ROI and the fact that fighters switch to one brand and then to another is desensitizing them to the branding anyways.
It's a sad situation, and I applaud anyone for taking a risk in something they truly believe in and even more so for supporting the fighters. However, I can't help but think that over-saturation in the MMA clothing/apparel market is just as much to blame as the recession. There are TONS of MMA clothing companies out there vying for a relatively small market share. So the small percentage of those smaller companies being profitable enough to sponsor fighters while continuing operations isn't surprising to me. Here's to hoping that things will look up for them in the future, and for some of them to just simply put out a better product. Because in my opinion, some of the gear produced by some companies is absolutely hideous.