Earlier this month UFC President Dana White confirmed that his promotion is exploring a deal to standardize uniforms for fighters, which prompted pushback from former middleweight title challenger Nate Quarry and current women’s strawweight Felice Herrig.
Now Pat Miletich has entered the debate, and he doesn’t think the uniforms would be a good deal for fighters.
“This is not the NFL,” the former UFC welterweight champion told the Sherdog Radio Network’s “Beatdown” show. “These guys are not under certain contracts with their teams. They don’t get 50-plus percent of all sales of all clothing and memorabilia and everything else like players do in the NFL and Major League Baseball and everything else. So quite frankly, I think it’s bulls--t. That’s just the way I feel.”
Miletich, a color commentator for AXS TV, compared the situation to his time as a coach in the International Fight League. He said he was contacted by Muscle Milk to sponsor his team, the Silverbacks, but that the IFL intervened and instead struck a deal for Muscle Milk to sponsor the entire league.
“Suddenly I got an email from the IFL saying that they had signed Muscle Milk to a league deal and that all teams would be forced to wear the Muscle Milk logo on their uniforms on the way out to the cage and in the fights,” Miletich recalled. “All the coaches got this email; everybody got the email. So I wanted to make sure everybody got my reply, and I sent back an email and I said, ‘You pirated my sponsorship,’ and I said, ‘The Silverbacks will not be wearing the Muscle Milk logo. As a matter of fact, we’re going to make sure we take markers and black them all out on our uniforms and you can kiss my ass.’”
Miletich said he then got a call from an IFL executive, to whom he explained how much money his team had lost from the demise of the original sponsorship proposal.
“Everybody was going to get an even piece of that,” Miletich said he told the executive, “and that’s how much I’m going to get or you can kiss my ass and we’re not wearing those logos out to the cage. And they buckled. They sent me a check. I showed all the fighters [on the Silverbacks] the check and then I cut them all a check out of that.”
A standoff might be much more difficult in the UFC, but that doesn’t change Miletich’s viewpoint on uniforms.
“I can go on and on and on about this stuff, but it’s bullying and a lot of the sponsors that used to sponsor fighters don’t do it anymore because many of them were forced, from what I understand, to pay the UFC a certain amount of money to even have the right to do that, and they couldn’t afford it,” he said. “I understand the UFC is running a business and I don’t blame them for that, but at the same time the athletes, at some point, need to get involved and stand together and say you know what? That’s enough.”
Listen to the full interview (beginning at 1:02:17).