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Reebok distance themselves from controversial sacking of popular UFC crew member

“We have no input on decisions of UFC employment.”

UFC 178 Mixed Martial Arts Jacob 'Stitch' Duran had been working for the UFC since 2001 until his sacking earlier this week. Source: John Locher

WELL-KNOWN COMBAT SPORTS cutman Jacob ‘Stitch’ Duran was sacked by the UFC this week for voicing his opposition to the organisation’s new sponsorship deal with Reebok.

However, after subsequently coming in for heavy criticism from fans online, the sports apparel giant has spoken out and insists that it didn’t have a role to play in the decision.

Duran, who had been one of the most familiar faces in the octagon since joining the UFC in 2001, will no longer be working with the company after he explained — in an interview with BloodyElbow.com on Monday — that he had been left out of pocket due to losing other sponsorships as a consequence of the Reebok deal.

On Tuesday, Duran revealed that he had been contacted by the UFC and told that his services were no longer required — news which was greeted by widespread disapproval from fans and fighters.

Reebok have now taken to Twitter, explaining that the decision to give Duran his marching orders was not theirs: “We have no input on decisions of UFC employment or fighter compensation. Our focus is providing the best gear for fighters & fans.”

However, not everyone is satisfied with Reebok’s brief statement on the matter, which hasn’t quite served to stem the tide of criticism being directed at them. Retired UFC middleweight Nate Quarry has been particularly vocal.

Quarry said: “So, Reebok passes the buck and says, ‘Hey! It’s not us screwing over fighters and Stitch Duran! We have nothing to do with it!’ Right. We’re not as gullible as your normal customers. People over 80. Thanks for helping to drive the nail in the coffin of the UFC.”

Nevertheless, the episode is another PR disaster for the UFC’s relationship with Reebok. Since it was launched, fighters have also complained about the loss of earnings they’ll be forced to incur due to no longer being permitted to work with other sponsors, while the feedback from fans on the quality of the products has also been overwhelmingly negative.

Looks like Reebok need a new ambassador to salvage this situation

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Paul Dollery

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