Report: Carwin Sponsor Banned from UFC 121

By Mike Whitman Oct 19, 2010
Add another sponsor to the list of brands that UFC fighters may no longer display during events.

Sports drink company Good4U Drinks today announced via its Web site that Zuffa CEO Lorenzo Fertitta informed the brand in an email that they would no longer be welcome at UFC events.

Good4U's American representative, Rick DeBanks, wrote this morning:

“Good4U Drinks is seen by Zuffa as a direct competitor to Xenergy (which is owned by Zuffa) and AMP Energy, which advertises heavily on both WEC events and Spike TV's “The Ultimate Fighter.” Although Good4U are sport drinks and not energy drinks, they have been taking share from these brands.”

DeBanks tempered the news with an explanation of the brand's approach to sponsorship.

“Our marketing strategy with respect to MMA has been to invest in athletes [across multiple] promotions [rather than with a single MMA promotion]. Let's face it; [the fighters] are the ones who go out and bleed for 15 minutes and make the sacrifices that most of us don't see.”

The ban will go into effect during Saturday's UFC 121. Fighters sponsored by the sports drink that will be affected include former middleweight title contender Patrick Cote, Matt Hammill, Chris Camozzi, and Jon Madsen. DeBanks went on to write:

“As much as any other sport, MMA fighters depend on sponsorship. This isn't a cliché; this is a fact. As this decision [to ban Good4U] has just come down today, it will be virtually impossible for [the aforementioned UFC 121 athletes] to find alternate sponsorship.”

The brand's most prominent fighter, Shane Carwin, this morning tweeted his displeasure with the ban:

“Another worthy, great, honorable company supporting fighters banned from the UFC. Thank you for making the road even tougher.”

Carwin later also tweeted a more in-depth response regarding his sponsor's prohibition from UFC events, relaying that he was not “mad” at the UFC, as it was the organization's business decision to make, but that he was disappointed that he would no longer be allowed to wear his sponsor.

DeBanks is by no means declaring war on the UFC, however. This afternoon, the drink representative tweeted that the brand would be “fine,” and that if UFC president Dana White were to overturn the ban in time for UFC 121, Good4U would be “more than happy to donate” drinks for the event.
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