By Holden Wilen | Baltimore Business Journal
Under Armor Inc.’s Project Rock brand, featuring former professional wrestler and current movie star Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson, has signed a deal to become the official footwear partner of the Ultimate mixed martial arts promotion FightingChampionship.
Project Rock replaces Reebok as UFC footwear sponsor. The deal represents a major win for Baltimore-based Under Armour, as the partnership with the immensely popular UFC will provide massive exposure for Project Rock, already one of the sportswear maker’s most popular brands.
The multi-year deal announced Jan. 21 will see all UFC athletes and their corner teams wear Project Rock footwear during fight week activities, including open workouts, weigh-ins and in the locker room. Fighters will also wear the shoes when entering the Octagon before taking them off for their fights.
Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed. Initial footwear provided to athletes will include Project Rock BSR training shoes and Project Rock slides. Starting in the summer of 2022, UFC athletes will be equipped with a special edition co-branded BSR 2 training shoe.
The partnership recently began with all athletes participating in UFC 270 wearing Project Rock shoes.
“UFC athletes are some of the biggest, toughest, most focused, disciplined and toughest athletes on the planet,” Johnson said in a statement. “Every walk to the iconic Octagon by a UFC fighter is fueled by passion, mana and a deep desire to establish their dominance and legacy. I am proud, grateful and honored that my innovative Project Rock training shoe is now the Official Worldwide Footwear Partner of the UFC.
The deal also provides opportunities to create additional exposure through original UFC content across linear, digital and social media platforms.
The deal comes with Under Armor starting to be more active in sponsorships again in 2021 after downsizing amid a corporate restructuring over the past few years. Under Armor enjoyed a resurgence last year, and CEO Patrik Frisk discussed the continued role footwear will play in the company’s future growth.
The Project Rock collection has been one of Under Armour’s biggest sellers, with new releases usually selling out quickly. Johnson entered into an endorsement deal with Under Armor in 2016. They had previously teamed up occasionally, including when Under Armor made a custom shoe for Johnson in 2013.
The Project Rock and UFC co-branded shoes will be available for purchase at retail outlets worldwide and online later this year.
Photo credit: Courtesy of Under Armor
Number 273: February/March 2022