Remember how CM Punk complained last November about how Vince McMahon had refused to allow him to wear fight shorts with sponsorship logos plastered all over them, only for the WWE owner to green light Brock Lesnar doing exactly that less than a year later? Well, ironically WWE may be close to entering into a sponsorship deal with a major MMA clothing brand just a couple of months after Punk's outburst.
Indeed, according to Dave Meltzer, WWE are in negotiations with Tapout, a longtime sponsor of UFC fighters, about finalizing a sponsorship deal together.
The move makes a lot of sense for both parties. Tapout needs to find new stars to sponsor after UFC recently announced a six-year partnership with Reebok to become the exclusive outfitter and apparel provider for all their fighters, which starts in July 2015. Although Tapout could sponsor fighters in other MMA promotions, none come close to matching WWE's viewership or worldwide brand recognition. For WWE it would offer them the chance to work with an apparel company that is seen as hip and cool with the lucrative male 18-34 demographic that they attempt to target too.
Remember, at this point in time, this is only a rumor, but enough people are talking about it that there's probably some substance to the reports. However, when Mike Johnson of PWInsider.com inquired with WWE about this story, naturally they refused to substantiate or deny the gossip on the grapevine:
One of the rumors making the rounds over the last 24 hours is that WWE is about to announce a licensing deal with Tapout, the MMA-centric apparel company.
When contacted by PWInsider.com regarding the rumor, WWE responded, "WWE is exploring several partnership opportunities, however we have nothing official to announce at this time."
We'll have more on this story if it develops into something official. But, what do you think, Cagesiders? Is this a good deal for WWE to be entering into? Would you be willing to buy Tapout branded WWE wrestler T-shirts? Or are you happy with WWE merchandise as it is?