Conor McGregor's Reebok deal expires leaving him a free agent ahead of Mayweather fight

Several apparel brands are in negotiations with McGregor ahead of his bout with Mayweather

Conor McGregor’s apparel deal with Reebok has expired, leaving the UFC star free to sign with any other sports brand for his upcoming boxing match with Floyd Mayweather.

The 28-Year-old mixed martial artist’s upcoming bout with Mayweather on 26 August is anticipated to be the most lucrative boxing match in history, with both fighters expected to earn in excess of $100m across the various revenue streams tied to the event.

Apparel sponsors will play a part in the revenue generated and stand to gain unprecedented exposure with Pay-Per-View (PPV) figures forecast to surpass the 4.5 million record set for the Mayweather verses Pacquiao fight in 2015.

It had been assumed that Reebok would represent the UFC lightweight champion given his endorsement deal with the brand, which was signed back in 2015, however McGregor’s manager, Audie Attar, revealed that the Irish man’s contract with Reebok has run its course.

Speaking as a guest on MMAFighting’s podcast ‘The MMA Hour’, Attar said: “He’s currently a free agent with regard to athletic apparel. We’re still in discussions with Reebok and other brands.

“We let a lot of our deals lapse, so there’s a lot of open categories that we’ve been negotiating from different brands, including Reebok.

When asked by the podcast host, Ariel Helwani, if McGregor would theoretically be allowed to wear Nike apparel for the Mayweather bout, Attar said: “If he signed with Nike, he could wear Nike for this fight, that’s accurate.”

US television network Showtime holds the broadcast rights to the PPV fight and so McGregor will fight under a separate promotion form the UFC, meaning he will not be beholden to the UFC’s exclusive apparel deal with the brand, which sees all its athletes wear Reebok apparel during competition.

Attar summed up the situation saying: “It’s definitely a great opportunity to have any brand that we decide to align with.”

Speaking on a conference call for the fight last week, Stephen Espinoza, executive vice president and general manager at Showtime Sports, said McGregor and Mayweather are attracting a different kind of audience compared to the previous record setting fight with Pacquiao, and as a result would break all records.

“We’re not only drawing fans from the universe of boxing and the universe of MMA,” Espinoza explained. “We’ve actually tapped into the audience that really doesn’t follow either sport. This is such an unprecedented event that people that have never really been interested in boxing or MMA are interested in this event due to the nature of the competition and the nature of these two personalities. That’s an untapped part of the market that not even Mayweather-Pacquiao touched.”

Since his UFC debut in 2013, McGregor's marketing appeal has grown exponentially. Last year he ranked 11th on SportsPro's annual list of the world’s 50 most marketable athletes and was recently named one of the 100 most influential people in 2017 by Time magazine.

Tony Connelly

I cover media, marketing and sponsorship news within the sports industry. This includes breaking news as well as writing feature pieces with insights from experts in the sports marketing world.

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