Al Iaquinta took a parting shot at Reebok on the day Venum unveiled their new UFC apparel.
Perennial UFC lightweight contender Al Iaquinta took to his official social media account and replied to a tweet from ESPN MMA’s Ariel Helwani. Responding to a tweet from Helwani regarding the new Venum UFC apparel, Iaquinta took a jibe at the infamous errors Reebok made in spelling some of the UFC fighters’ names.
Displayed above is a screengrab of Al Iaquinta's tweet regarding the Reebok-UFC-Venum news (*Screengrab courtesy: Reddit user u/Thanos40).
Back in July 2015, the UFC and Reebok entered into a six-year deal with one another, whereby Reebok became the official apparel company of the UFC. During this partnership, both organizations faced severe criticism from certain sections of the combat sports community.
Some fans and experts noted that while the UFC-Reebok deal was great for both global organizations, the fighters didn’t benefit from it as much. The UFC received a great brand partner in world-renowned sports apparel company, Reebok. Meanwhile, Reebok gained an excellent advertising platform with the world’s premier MMA promotion, the UFC.
Nevertheless, the fact that the average UFC fighter was losing out on hundreds of thousands of dollars in sponsorship money, due to the UFC-Reebok exclusive deal, was strongly condemned by many in the MMA world. Additionally, the Reebok uniforms were marred by spelling mistakes in the athletes’ names on the apparel.
The infamous Reebok error of putting out the ‘Gilblert’ fight kit for veteran MMA fighter Gilbert Melendez, the Jacare ‘Ronaldo’ Souza fight kit for Ronaldo ‘Jacare’ Souza, and adding ‘Marcio’ to former UFC light heavyweight champion Lyoto Machida’s name are a few examples of Reebok gaffes that are well-known.
The UFC’s deal with Reebok came to a close in March 2021. Starting at the UFC on ABC 2 aka UFC on ABC: Vettori vs. Holland event (April 10, 2021), Venum apparel will replace Reebok apparel at UFC events.
On that note, with Venum unveiling their UFC apparel, Al Iaquinta has tweeted out against Reebok’s history of misspelling UFC athletes’ names.
Reebok, Venum, the rise of MMA, and Al Iaquinta’s long-awaited return
With global apparel and equipment brands such as Reebok and Venum having worked with the UFC, it isn’t all too surprising to see experts in the socio-economic realm lauding the rise of MMA as a legitimate globally recognized sport.
And speaking of Reebok, Al Iaquinta – the popular UFC lightweight who’s being lauded by fans for his witty jibe at the UFC-Reebok spelling errors – is yet to return to the Octagon since 2019.
Al Iaquinta’s most recent fight was a unanimous decision loss against Dan Hooker at UFC 243 in October 2019. Iaquinta is a successful real estate agent. ‘Raging Al’ has often suggested that he continues his fighting career owing to his love for martial arts and the sport of MMA, not for the remuneration or rather lack thereof that this sport offers its fighters.
Which fighter would you like to see Al Iaquinta return against (in the new Venum apparel of course)? Sound off in the comments.