It’s safe to say that MMA has come a long way since its early days. As it continues to grow, so do the sponsorships associated with it. The fans have noticed this, and many are curious who is behind their favorite fighter’s shorts or banner at the weigh-ins.

At UFC 166, I decided to take a look at some of the bigger name fighters on the card and see which companies are supporting them through their various apparel brands.

These results are not perfect, but rather should be considered an initial survey into who is sponsoring which fighters for UFC 166.

I did not include the fighters who were sponsored by a brand, but who did not have their brand directly tied to MMA. To give an example, Tito Ortiz is sponsored by Gaspari Nutrition, which is a sports supplement company that typically sponsors bodybuilders. In addition, I left out banners of companies that are not apparel-related, such as Monster Energy Drinks or Harley Davidson. And finally, I only considered the primary shirt each fighter wore into the Octagon on fight night – meaning if they had a secondary sponsor, it was not included.

9 out of 11 of the fighters analyzed had at least one sponsorship from a major MMA apparel brand: Bad Boy, Fear The Fighter, Hayabusa, Jaco, Modern Athletics, Pitbull, Silver Star, Skrap Pack, TapouT, and Venum. And for those wondering, Little River Bandaids did not have a fighter from the card sponsored by them. 

This does not mean that these brands are the only ones sponsoring fighters on UFC 166 or even MMA as a whole. Many of them also have sponsorship deals with other fighters who were fighting at other cards over the last month. However, it’s an interesting showcase of how many top MMA talents each company sees as valuable enough to invest their money into from sports betting platforms such as Ninja.

If the results of this study are any indication, it’s expected to see some big changes in what brands are sponsoring fighters over the next year. That’s not just because new companies have seen the value in buying space on top-level MMA talent – it’s also due to many of the current sponsors seeing that there is now even more competition for that real estate.

As the sport continues to grow, I’d expect more apparel companies to continue moving towards sponsoring fighters. And with that growth, there’s still time for other brands to get in on the action.

Who are MMA’s favorite brands?

I took a look at the official UFC/Strikeforce fighter rankings to find out. Ranked fighters were rated on a scale of 1-10 (1st ranked fighter gets 10 points, 2nd rank gets 9, etc). All results were tallied up and averaged across all fighters in each weight class. If someone was not ranked, they were given the average score for their weight class (e.g., if no one is ranked at lightweight, but there are 12 welterweights with scores for Bud Light then that becomes the average score).

Where do your favorite brands rank? Take a look below:

Top 5 Most Popular Brands

  • Heineken 7.46
  • Budweiser 7.37
  • Xyience 7.06
  • TapouT 6.86
  • Affliction 5.93

Top 5 Least Popular Brands

  • Fathead 2.17
  • Umbrella Entertainment 1.85
  • Cndom Depot 1.83
  • Ecko Unltd 1.83
  • Bad Boy Mowers 1.61

Conclusion

The top 5 sponsors of MMA as ranked by the fighters: Heineken, Budweiser, Xyience, TapouT, and Affliction.

The bottom 5: Fathead, Umbrella Entertainment, Condom Depot, Ecko Unltd, and Bad Boy Mowers.

 

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