UFC light-heavyweight champion Jon Jones is at the center of what is expected to be the biggest and most notable sponsorship deal yet for an MMA fighter.
Jones (16-1 MMA, 10-1 UFC) will be representing Nike in the sport of MMA.
Malki Kawa, the president and CEO of First Round Management, told MMAjunkie.com Radio Thursday that the deal he helped seal for his client could be groundbreaking for the sport as a whole.
"It legitimizes the sport in such a big way," Kawa said. "It opens the door for every other fighter out there because now, if you're an intelligent manager or marketing guy, you go to people and say, 'Hey, look, Nike's in our sport -- they've got Jon Jones. You can't get Jon Jones. Nike's got him. But there are other opportunities'."
A Nike sponsorship has represented high status for athletes, and the company has sponsored star athletes in many sports, including Tiger Woods, Kobe Bryant, and LeBron James. Nike has sponsored former stars such as Michael Jordan and Bo Jackson, and UFC middleweight champion Anderson Silva. The Jon Jones deal is expected to surpass the Anderson Silva deal in terms of impact on the UFC.
Check out Jones' next fight with Dan Henderson on Sept. 1 in the main event of UFC 151 in Las Vegas.
via USA Today