The name, image, and likeness (NIL) industry are being entered by the UFC. The promotion is making a financial commitment to Bella Mir, who is perhaps the most promising fighter in women's MMA.
Bella Mir, the daughter of former UFC heavyweight champion Frank Mir, has joined the world's largest MMA company as its first-ever NIL ambassador.
Mir, a newcomer on the women's wrestling team at the University of Iowa, will be given the chance to attract new fans through sponsorships, social media activity, and presentations. NIL agreements were previously forbidden by the NCAA.
“I’m super grateful and I honestly couldn’t be more thankful to [UFC President] Dana [White] and UFC for giving me this opportunity,” Bella Mir said in a press release statement. “I’m going to make sure I do my best to represent UFC and show the world what I’m all about.”
The University of Iowa revealed in December of last year that the UFC has agreed to help fund the school's men's and women's wrestling teams. Mir competed in Nevada during his high school wrestling career and won four state titles. The 20-year-old flyweight is 3-0 in professional fights, with both of her most recent victories coming through first-round submission.
It made perfect sense for the UFC officials to establish an initial bond and prepare Bella for the long term because her father Frank is wholly committed to her fighting career and believes Bella will ultimately become a champion of the world.
"Bella was destined to become a member of the UFC family her entire life, and I'm proud that she's making history as our first NIL ambassador in one of the best programs at the University of Iowa," White said in a statement. "... Bella is an incredible role model for young women who are not only looking to get into sports, but also pursue their dreams. She's on another level, and we can't wait to see what she does next."
Although NIL contracts do not guarantee that an athlete would compete for the UFC, Bella Mir's background makes it seem certain that she will do so in the future.
It's unsure whether the UFC will provide NIL contracts to any additional college athletes. WWE, on the other hand, has a significant NIL program with more than 30 athletes signed during the previous two years. The first ever WWE NIL inductee in September 2021 was Olympic gold medalist in wrestling Gable Steveson, who also attracted consideration from the UFC.