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Reebok deal causes UFC fighter to go barefoot to media interviews

Matt Mitrione was wearing Jordans ahead of UFC Boston.

THE UFC ARE starting to implement their Athlete Outfitting Policy quite strictly, which Matt Mitrione found out yesterday.

MMA’s leading organisation signed a deal last year with Reebok, which stipulates that Reebok is the only brand of sporting apparel that athletes can wear during fight week activities.

The UFC insists that this information is clearly communicated to fighters and that they’re provided with the appropriate attire.

But Mitrione, who faces Travis Browne at UFC Boston on Sunday night, turned up for the pre-event media day wearing a pair of Jordan shoes. But that’s now against the rules, as he explained to Ariel Helwani of MMAFighting.com.

Source: MMAFightingonSBN/YouTube

“(My shoes) are outside. I had some J’s on my feet and that was not part of the attire. So I came in barefooted,” said Mitrione, whose fight this weekend will be his first since the Reebok deal was introduced.

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When asked if he was aware that he’d need to remove his footwear, Mitrione said: “Not necessarily I thought it was possible that it’s considered ‘dressed up’. From where I’m from, that is considered dressed up. J’s are dressed up, you know? It’s also the reason why I had to wear something above my polo [shirt]. There’s just certain stipulations and rules now.”

The Reebok deal has been widely unpopular among fighters and fans since it was introduced. Donald Cerrone was fined for a “serious violation” of the policy last month at UFC Orlando. Rafael dos Anjos and Nate Diaz have since confirmed that they were also penalised following the event.

During the same interview, Mitrione also confirmed that this weekend’s clash with Browne is the last bout on his current contract with the UFC. Having failed to reach an agreement on a new deal, the 37-year-old heavyweight now looks set to join top bantamweight Aljamain Sterling in testing free agency.

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Paul Dollery

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