USA TODAY: Adidas targets MMA, teams up with RFA Feeder League

This story appears in today’s edition of USA TODAY.)

by John Morgan on Aug 12, 2013 at 9:15 am ET

Adidas, one of the world’s largest sporting apparel and accessories companies, is entering the world of mixed martial arts.

Executives from Adidas global licensee Double D confirmed that Adidas Combat Sports signed a multiyear partnership with Resurrection Fighting Alliance (RFA), a burgeoning fight promotion that bills itself as a feeder league for the Ultimate Fighting Championship. The company has plans to launch a line of MMA products.

“I feel like it’s a good fit for them to sponsor our organization, and we have big plans on how we’re going to activate Adidas with RFA,” RFA President Ed Soares told USA TODAY Sports.

Adidas Combat Sports officials said the company, which has already signed UFC lightweight Leo Santos to an endorsement deal, planned to make a splash in the MMA world and help grow the sport.

Double D managing director Christophe Dessalles recently attended a UFC event in Las Vegas and said he expected Adidas Combat Sports to take a role with the industry- leading promotion but also focus on grass-roots efforts.

“We’re going to try to grow the sport of MMA,” Dessalles said. “It’s a very young sport. And for me that’s one of my goals in the next five years, to try to work with Ed Soares at the RFA and the UFC and help grow the sport globally.

“There are some countries in Europe, such as France, where MMA is still not allowed. Hopefully we can change that.”

Dessalles said RFA made sense as an entry point for the Adidas brand because the promotion boasts a similar interest in building talent from the ground level. Soares added that RFA was the only organization outside the UFC that uses the octagon.

RFA’s first event with Adidas on board is scheduled for Friday at Stub- Hub Center in Los Angeles. The event’s main card airs on AXS TV.