MMAPayout recently reported that Zuffa had imposed a sponsor “fee” – similar to the UFCs – that impacted several Strikeforce fighters heading into the Strikeforce HW GP: Overeem vs Werdum event. This time, the sponsor fee will prevent MMA fighters Tim Kennedy and Liz Carmouche from wearing the Ranger Up brand during their upcoming bouts.Ranger Up President Nick Palmisciano spoke to MMAPayout regarding the current situation between Strikeforce/UFC and Ranger Up:“We are in fact “out” [as sponsors], but are still supporting all of our athletes financially as if they wore the Ranger Up logo into the cage. We also completely understand and have no issue with Strikeforce’s position. It is a sign the sport is growing. We hope to be back in Strikeforce and the UFC soon, but until then continue to support and sponsor military athletes at all levels, and are very proud to have been able to advance the sport in the military community these past 5 years.”You have to feel bad for sponsors who have grown their brand side-by-side with their sponsored fighter from the small shows to the “big stage” and have continually supported their endeavor to pursue MMA. Most fighters would not have reached the “big stage” without those sponsors who gave them a revenue stream when they were just starting out. In terms of MMA as a business, it makes perfect sense for Zuffa to apply the tax, though it becomes a tough and critical transitional stage for many fighter-sponsor relationships. For most smaller-scale sponsors, it just doesn’t make any fiscal sense to be paying the Zuffa sponsor fee, specially someone as unique as Ranger Up, who specializes in helping the troops and is not just focused on increasing brand exposure through the signing of numerous fighters.“Sponsoring a guy does not do anything for you,” he asserted. “It’s sponsoring people, over time, that you believe in, that share your values, that are going to represent the brand well. Taking care of them, they will take care of you. It’s building something that has substance. No one event is going to make you a successful company.”Ranger Up stressed that supporting the troops will always be the primary focus of Ranger Up, whether it’s through sponsorship in MMA or other events, such as the All-Army Combative Tournaments where Tim Kennedy has made a name for himself over the years. Ranger Up is currently sponsoring over 100 troop members pursuing MMA in smaller events. “Anyone who has honorably served or serves our country will get our support. Whether it’s inside the cage or just personifying what Ranger Up stands for” said Palmisciano. Ranger Up currently sponsors notable UFC/Strikeforce fighters Tim Kennedy, Liz Carmouche, Brian Stann, Jorge Rivera, and Tim Credeur to name a few.
"I've been with Ranger Up for six years. They've been so loyal to me in every single way they possibly can supporting me as a sponsor. Even though I can't be wearing them on my shorts, I won't be wearing anybody. I'm going to reciprocate that. It's going to be symbiotic."They've supported me and they're going to continue to support me, so I'm going to be wearing blank fight shorts. I've going to be wearing a blank T-shirt."Zuffa is a great company and they are very business minded and they're my bosses, so I can't argue how or why they do things, I can just do what they tell me. So I won't be wearing Ranger Up, but I'm definitely going to be supporting them in every way I can."Kennedy said he hopes Ranger Up will be able to sponsor fighters by the end of the year.