Nike Says Goodbye to Manny Pacquiao as They Say Hello to Jon Jones (UPDATED)

August 13, 2012
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When it comes to brand names that will be seen in the Octagon, there might not be any bigger than what will debut at UFC 151 next month.

UFC light heavyweight champion Jon ‘Bones’ Jones recently inked a multi-year contract with Nike that will begin immediately as he prepares for his Sept 1 showdown with Dan Henderson in Las Vegas.

Jones is the first MMA athlete to ink a worldwide deal with Nike similar to other high profile athletes like LeBron James or Tiger Woods.

UFC President Dana White is quick to point out how big Nike’s involvement in MMA is to the overall growth and development of the sport.

“It’s huge, it’s really big,” White told following UFC 150.

The plan is for Jones to be decked out in Nike gear for his upcoming bout with Henderson, which headlines UFC 151.

The endorsement deal is the first of its kind for Nike as they stick their big toe into the waters of mixed martial arts while supporting Jon Jones in this new endeavor.

While the two situations may not have anything to do with one another, White points out that Nike has decided to drop their endorsement deal with boxing star Manny Pacquiao as they begin their new relationship with Jones.

“They’re shutting down the Manny Pacquiao line and starting up the Jon Jones line,” White revealed. “I don’t know why they shut down the Pacquiao line, but they did and that (expletive) was selling like hot cakes. I got Manny Pacquiao (expletive) from Nike.”

Jones’ deal with Nike will include a clothing line as well as a signature shoe that will be produced in the coming months. Look for Jones to debut at least some of the gear when he hits the Octagon on Sept 1.


Nike PR has informed as of Monday that they have not severed ties with Manny Pacquiao and he remains a sponsored athlete under their name and brand. Pacquiao’s products remain available on Nike’s website and through other various apparel outlets as well.

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  • johnnybooker

    Nike can only hope MMA “wrestlers” start wearing shoes in the ring again. This is great for the sport we all love…here’s to Hendo spoiling the party.

  • TimLi0917

    Awesome that Nike picked up Jon Jones but please note that Jones is not the first mma fighter to have his own line. Caol Uno was first his nike line in japan was very nice quality stuff. Akiyama also is sponsored by nike, The mma nike line in Japan has been out for years.

  • Caol Uno, Akiyama and Anderson Silva all have Nike deals, but this is the first worldwide/global launch for a line when it comes to Nike. That’s the biggest difference here. Uno and Akiyama were specific to Japan, Silva specific to Brazil. Jon Jones Nike sponsorship is a worldwide endorsement and apparel deal

  • dgs

    How awkward will it be if Nike’s new star gets KO’d next month?

    • adam1848

      dream come true…but probably just a dream.

  • The biggest mistake Nike had ever made!!!

    • tomkevill

      agree. like 1 month after pleading no contest to drunk driving charges he get sponsored. pathetic example. good think nike is shit anyway

  • b-soc

    Tomkevill makes a good point. I thought about that when I heard it. They sign a guy one month after pleading no contest to drunk driving charges. Doesn’t look good.