Reebok causes backlash with Ireland tee cutting out Northern Ireland, asking fans to show “UFC territorial allegiance”

By Jamie Penick, MMATorch Editor-in-Chief

Reebok has done it again.

The UFC’s new apparel partner caused a stir this week after putting out a “UFC Ireland Map Tee” in their store. While they’ve been tackling the nationality angle for a lot of their marketing and design ideas under this UFC deal, in this instance they wrought the ire of a nation by cutting off Northern Ireland from the map and adding the following caption:

“Show your UFC territorial allegiance with this UFC Ireland map tee. You know in your soul the best fighters come out of Ireland, and you’re not afraid to scream your pride in the gym or at the Octagon.”

That understandably caused an uproar given the complete lack of regard for the history of the two nations, and at the forefront was Conor McGregor’s coach John Kavanagh. This shirt comes out shortly after the SBG team signed a deal with Reebok, and Kavanagh demanded its removal or he said his team would be done with them.

Shortly after the uproar swelled on Wednesday morning, Reebok removed the original link to the shirt, and appear to have removed it from their store entirely.

Penick’s Analysis: It shouldn’t be surprising given what we’ve seen from Reebok to date that they failed to realize or anticipate what reaction this was going to bring. If they had made it a “Republic of Ireland” shirt, that would have been something different, but just slapping that on there as they did, cutting out Northern Ireland, and having that caption set with the shirt is just a stupid, stupid mistake for a company as large as Reebok to make. It’s just another example of the ineptitude that’s been shown in regards to some of these situations in the UFC/Reebok deal, and it’s ridiculous.

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