Resurrection Fighting lands deal with adidas

A Las Vegas-based mixed martial arts organization that feeds fighters to the Ultimate Fighting Championship has scored a big sponsorship win, with adidas, one of the best-known brands in worldwide sports, deciding to be an endorsement partner.

Resurrection Fighting Alliance, an organization of 25 to 30 MMA fighters aspiring for the big time in combat sports, will debut the famed adidas three stripes logo at its fight televised by AXS TV in Los Angeles on Friday. RFA is staging seven events in 2013 and 10 to 12 events next year. AXS is RFA’s TV partner.

Under the multiyear deal, the adidas logo will appear on the RFA cage, competition mat, on cage fencing and bumpers and on all RFA promotional signage, graphics and digital platforms. All RFA fighters will don adidas MMA gloves.

Technically, Resurrection Fighting Alliance signed the agreement with Double-D, the adidas Combat Sports licensors for more than a decade.

Ed Soares, Resurrection Fighting Alliance president, said he was aware that adidas was interested in adding MMA to its clothing line, which includes boxing, judo, karate, taekwondo and Brazilian jiu jitsu outfits. So, Soares reached out to adidas in March and flew to Hong King to meet company officials.

“Its’ a big step in the right direction for our young organization to be affiliated with a partner like adidas,” Soares said. “I’m looking forward to (Friday) and seeing the three stripes in our cage.”

Soares declined to discuss the deal’s terms, refusing to even divulge the length of the agreement.

An adidas official said Resurrection Fighting Alliance is a better sponsorship partner than the established powerhouse fight organization UFC because the sports company wants to hook up with a young organization that has athletes on the ground floor of the fight game.

RFA is like a Triple-A league or college football feeding young MMA fighters to UFC, considered the major league of mixed martial arts.

“Our goal is to start with a grassroots program and introduce the MMA line to a new market. We wanted to be part of a whole community of young athletes,” said Raul Montolfo, national director of sales and product development for Double-D/adidas Global.

“It’s a market we really want to get into,” said Montolfo, who is based in Los Angeles.

He said the new MMA adidas gear in the combat sports line will include shorts and protective items such as shin guards.

Soares and Montolfo said while giant sports companies such as Nike focus on endorsement deals with individual athletes, adidas embraces teams and leagues.

Soares said his organization’s other sponsors include Inca Kola and Let It Fly Energy drink.

RFA’s show on Friday will also be the first RFA fight event to use UFC’s trademarked Octagon after securing the rights from UFC to use the eight-sided cage. Its debut will coincide with the adidas deal.

Contact reporter Alan Snel at asnel@reviewjournal.com or 702-387-5273.

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