Dana White appeared on CNBC with Brock Lesnar to announce a merchandising deal with Jakks Pacific for UFC action figures. It is assumed this is not the “mind-blowing” announcement that has the MMA community on the edge of its seat.
Kudos to CNBC’s Darren Rovell though. Rovell seemingly didn’t care about the action figures and immediately asked Dana about the announcement he teased in an interview with ESPN The Mag. Rovell ran down a list of the rumors floating around including the Mayweather rumor, the WWE acquiring a minority stake in the UFC, the UFC landing a network TV deal on FOX or ABC/ESPN and Zuffa taking the UFC public. White denied all four, although this would not be the first time Dana has denied a rumor only to announce it days later, so you can’t 100% rule any out just yet.
If you happened to be interested in the action figures, here is the press release that was sent out.
MALIBU, Calif., Jun 10, 2008 (BUSINESS WIRE) – The world leader in fighting action figure toys, JAKKS Pacific, Inc. (Nasdaq:JAKK), announced today that it has signed an exclusive, four year worldwide Master Toy license agreement with the Ultimate Fighting Championship(R) (UFC(R)) organization, with a planned product launch expected to commence in 2009.
The new UFC product line from JAKKS(TM) will be collector-focused, and the license covers UFC legend Chuck “The Iceman” Liddell, Brock Lesnar, Antonio “Minotauro” Nogueira, Michael “The Count” Bisping and UFC Middleweight Champion Anderson “The Spider” Silva, among others. The license also includes the famed UFC Octagon(TM), and role-play items based on the UFC brand and its classic and current roster of star fighters.
The Ultimate Fighting Championship organization is the world’s leading professional mixed martial arts group, regulated by the most prestigious sports regulatory bodies in the United States. UFC live pay-per-view events take place at preeminent destinations including MGM Grand(R), MEN Arena, Mandalay Bay(R) and O2 Arena, and they consistently draw sell-out crowds with record-breaking gates. Presenting more than twelve pay-per-view events per year, the UFC stands as the largest pay-per-view content provider in the country.
The UFC also dominates television with its reality series, The Ultimate Fighter(R), now heading into its eighth season. The Ultimate Fighter has reigned supreme for years in the coveted 18-34 male ratings demographic, and it regularly enjoys higher ratings than traditional franchise sports such as the NBA(R), NHL(R) and NASCAR(R), as well as NCAA(R) football and basketball. In partnership with Spike TV(R) cable network, the UFC also presents ten live UFC(R) Fight Night(TM) events and 26 taped programs of the popular program UFC(R) Unleashed(TM).
“The UFC is a perfect match for JAKKS, given our extensive expertise in developing and marketing collector driven sports action figures,” said Stephen Berman, President and COO, JAKKS Pacific. “UFC’s enormous and growing popularity amongst adults, coupled with the extensive roster of physically powerful star fighters, gives JAKKS a substantial base to work with, and should be a powerhouse combination for the line. Our objective is to give collectors an authentic UFC experience.”
“We are thrilled to have JAKKS on board as our first official UFC action figure partner,” said Dana White, UFC President. “The demand for UFC is tremendous, and through this relationship with JAKKS, we can present authentic UFC products and have them available to our loyal UFC fans all around the world.”
Wonder how much the fighters are getting from the sales, if any?