Earlier this year cryptocurrency exchange Crypto.com signed a long term sponsorship deal with the UFC. As part of the sponsorship, the blockchain platform has announced it will launch an exclusive non-fungible token (NFT) collection with the fighting league.
While details were not officially disclosed, CNBC reported that the agreement is worth $175 million over ten years. Initially, Crypto.com branded UFC’s fight kit with its logo as its first ever Official Fight Kit Partner, but the NFT expansion showcases other digital opportunities as part of the partnership.
It may still be early to describe NFTs drops as traditional, but this launch will be just that. Crypto.com will launch a collection of limited edition packs leading up to a fight. The NFTs feature champion belts, fighter posters, artwork, avatars, artist collaborations, mystery boxes, and fighter profiles. The assets are collectible and tradeable on Crypto.com’s marketplace, and if fans collect specific athletes before November 7, they will be entered into a draw where they can earn exclusive digital rewards.
Fighters get half
One specific feature of the launch is that UFC athletes will receive fifty percent of the revenue from the sales. In other major sports leagues such as the NFL, NBA, and MLB, athletes bargaining agreements have enabled the athletes to receive around 50% of the league’s revenue in salaries. However, the UFC is a private company and has greater influence over how much it pays its athletes than some other leagues. It is estimated that UFC fighters make around 18% of the company’s revenue. Taking into account the danger of the sport and the limited number of professional fighters of top tier quality, some argue the proportion should be higher.
“UFC is the fastest growing sport in the world, and NFTs are simultaneously surging in popularity as fans look for new and unique ways to connect with the sport, the fighters and the broader UFC community,” said Steven Kalifowitz, Crypto.com’s CMO. “We’re excited to expand our relationship while ensuring that the fighters themselves are benefitting directly, an integral part of our commitment to ensuring that crypto is a tool for financial empowerment for all.”
Meanwhile, UFC has also signed a deal with Dapper Labs at the beginning of 2020, but no launch announcements have been made since. With Crypto.com’s launch and long term agreement with UFC, it is likely that Dapper will limit its product launches to minting highlights of the fights as NFTs, similarly to NBA Top Shot. In addition, UFC has a partnership for fan tokens with Socios.com and was one of the first American entities to join its roster.