UFC's Johny Hendricks And Reebok Show Resilience In And Outside The Octagon
By: Darren Heitner, Forbes
"As the minutes inched closer to midnight on Saturday, March 15, fans of mixed martial arts fighter Johny “Bigg Rigg” Hendricks began to hold their collective breath. It appeared that the #1 ranked Welterweight fighter would need a miracle to survive punch after punch received from the imposing “Ruthless” Robbie Lawler. In a packed to capacity American Airlines Center in Dallas, Texas, it was difficult to hear whether the crowd was chanting “Johny” or “Robbie”, but one thing was certain — those in attendance were receiving a spectacle of a show resulting in the award of the Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) Welterweight champion belt. After 5 rounds and a unanimous decision, it was Johny Hendricks hoisting the belt, smiling while bearing a busted right eye and wearing a bright orange Reebok branded shirt like he was king of the world.
"It was not only a monumental moment for Hendricks, who had lost his prior fight to Georges St-Pierre and was seeking to claim the title of undisputed champion, but also for that brand emblazoned across his chest. Reebok, long viewed as a hopeless competitor against Nike, seems to realize that Nike’s dominance is not shrinking, especially in the basketball shoes arena. Nike has locked up 92% of the basketball shoes market, Adidas controls 5.5%, and the remainder is shared among many brands including Reebok. It was due time for a Reebok re-branding effort, which has come in the form of a new logo and a new mission: focus on fitness. One of its first experiments was to associate with mixed martial arts fights, specifically UFC’s Johny Hendricks."