The Topps Era is over, and Panini America is taking over UFC's trading card business.
The trading card world saw an explosion in 2020, reaching heights the world hasn't seen in decades. UFC's deal with Topps expired, and Panini America picked things up.
UFC, the world’s premier mixed martial arts organization, today announced a new, multi-year licensing agreement with Panini America, the world’s largest licensed sports and entertainment collectibles company. The partnership, negotiated by IMG, grants Panini America the rights to become UFC’s official and exclusive collectible trading card partner.
“We are thrilled to welcome Panini America as UFC’s new official collectible trading card partner,” said UFC Senior Vice President of Global Consumer Products Tracey Bleczinski. “Many of our fans use collectible trading cards to stay connected to our brand and to their favorite UFC athletes, and Panini America is the industry leader, creating innovative and unique products for our fans to enjoy.”
This collaboration will officially launch in April with the release of Panini’s UFC Prizm collectible series. Panini will also add UFC trading cards to other popular product lines such as Select (July), Chronicles (September) and Immaculate (December) throughout remainder of the year.
"This truly is a dream matchup that brings together the unquestioned leaders of trading cards and combat sports for a partnership that will excite and captivate UFC fans and collectors across the globe for years," said Panini America CEO Mark Warsop. "We've watched with great interest over the years as UFC has grown into a major force on the mainstream sports landscape with some of the most marketable athletes in the world.
"We're passionate UFC fans here at Panini America, and we’re excited about what we can do with the UFC brand and the athletes on our trading cards. We're looking forward to this relationship."
As part of the partnership, Panini America will capitalize on UFC’s biggest moments in real-time with the company’s direct-to-consumer Panini Instant platform. Panini Instant makes trading cards of UFC’s biggest fights, moments and milestones available just hours after they happen. These special cards will be available for a limited time and are made to order.