UFC middleweight champion Israel ‘The Last Stylebender” has become the latest global sports star to be signed on by sportswear manufacturing giants Puma.
The company announced on Thursday 18 September that the undefeated Nigerian star has signed a multiyear deal with that will see him become the face of Puma’s Oceania division. He will also be a major part of their global marketing plans. Puma made the announcement with a special video showing the Nigerian-born New Zealand mixed martial arts fighter standing ontop of Auckland’s Sky Tower.
The deal is an apparel and shoe sponsorship and he becomes the first MMA fighter to be sponsored by the company.
However, it must be noted that the UFC has an existing uniform sponsorship deal with Reebok and and has locked in an agreement with Venum starting in April 2021, which means that Adesanya can’t wear Puma gear in the cage for his fights. However, he can promote Puma through his various media appearances outside the UFC.
“We’re ecstatic to be welcoming one of New Zealand’s most acclaimed athletes to the Puma family,” Pancho Gutstein, general manager of Puma Oceania, said in a statement. “Not only is Israel a fearless and incredibly talented athlete, but his passion for dancing, fashion, anime, and his memorable personality makes him a standout individual to represent the brand.”
Speaking about the partnership, Adesanya said he was “hyped and honoured” to partner up with the “Beast in the game”.
“I only work with companies that align with my values and goals and Puma is an awesome fit,” he said.
“I express myself when I fight, when I dance and through my style and I’ve always loved rocking PUMA. I never conform to society’s expectations of who I should be – individualism is key. I love that PUMA is all about individuality, daring to stand out, fearlessness and pushing the limits. Exactly my kind of brand and I’m hyped to see the partnership unfold.”
He joins a stable featuring some of the biggest stars in the world such as footballers Neymar, Sergio Aguero, Romelu Lukaku, Antoine Griezmann, Luis Suarez, NBA star DaMarcus Cousins, 100m world record holder Usain Bolt as well as recording artistes Rihanna and Jay Z.
The announcement comes ahead of Adesanya’s highly anticipated fight against the undefeated Paulo Costa of Brazil in the main event at UFC 253 in Yas Island, Abu Dhabi (Fight Island) on Sunday 27 September.
The bout is tipped as a potential “Fight of the Year” and the two fighters have been engaging in a flurry of exchanges on Twitter for weeks with Israel Adesanya vowing to come out on top.
in a recent interview, he stated that Costa has not fought someone of his calibre and reminded the fans that he has defeated opponents ranked considerably higher as compared to the Brazilian.
“It’s a cliche to say before every fight that he’s never faced anyone like me. He’s only beat two guys that are ranked. I beat like four or five guys that are ranked. Six, maybe. I lost count,” Israel Adesanya added.
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