By Holden Wilen | Baltimore Business Journal
Under Armour Inc.’s Project Rock brand, featuring former pro wrestler and current movie star Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson, has inked a deal to become the official footwear partner of the Ultimate Fighting Championship mixed martial arts promotion.
Project Rock replaces Reebok as UFC’s footwear sponsor. The deal represents a major win for Baltimore-based Under Armour because partnering with the immensely popular UFC will provide a massive amount of exposure for Project Rock, already one of the sportswear maker’s most popular brands.
The multi-year agreement 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 as they walk out to the Octagon before taking them off for their bouts.
Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed. Initial footwear provided to the athletes will include Project Rock BSR training shoes and Project Rock slides. Starting in summer 2022, UFC athletes will be outfitted with a special edition colorway of co-branded BSR 2 training shoes.
The partnership recently began with all athletes participating in UFC 270 wearing Project Rock footwear.
“UFC athletes are amongst the greatest, toughest, focused, most disciplined and hardest training athletes on the planet,” Johnson said in a statement. “Every walk to the iconic Octagon by a UFC fighter is fueled with passion, mana and the deep desire to establish their dominance and legacy. I am proud, grateful and humbled that my innovative Project Rock training shoe is now the official global footwear partner of UFC.”
The agreement also provides opportunities to create additional exposure through original UFC content on linear, digital and social media platforms.
The deal comes with Under Armour starting to get more active in doing sponsorships again in 2021 after cutting back amid a corporate restructuring the prior few years. Under Armour experienced a resurgence last year, and CEO Patrik Frisk has discussed the continuing role footwear will play in the future growth of the company.
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 Armour in 2016. They had occasionally partnered before, including when Under Armour made a custom shoe for Johnson in 2013.
Co-branded Project Rock and UFC footwear will be made available for sale at retail outlets around the world and online later this year.
Photo Credit: Courtesy of Under Armour