A dispute between the UFC and New Zealand Rugby over the use of the silver fern on the kit of Kiwi fighters has been quickly resolved, with a miscommunication at the heart of it.
Eugene Bareman, who trains six UFC fighters including middleweight champion Israel Adesanya at City Kickboxing in Auckland, revealed the UFC had been contacted over trademark issues around the use of the silver fern design that appears on the sleeves of UFC fighters' pre-fight shirts and hoodies.
"The UFC is stopping us from using the silver fern because they have been contacted by the All Blacks and asked not to use it because it has been trademarked," Bareman alleged.
"The UFC called me up and said we're changing the symbol," Bareman said. "They said 'how it's going, Eugene?' It's a great day, we're just going to change that symbol on your sleeves that you wear out to battle'.
"We wear it on our uniform, we wear it with great pride, and it doesn't matter whether you were born in Nigeria or Samoa, it doesn't matter where you come from.
"It's very important to us. It's something that we represent."
New Zealand Rugby disputed the claims in a short statement, saying they had not had any contact with the UFC around the use of logos, while a representative of the All Blacks got in touch with City Kickboxing to clear things up after Bareman and UFC middleweight champion Israel Adesanya's comments on the issue.
The issue was soon resolved, with City Kickboxing releasing another statement in the afternoon.
"The issue has been resolved," the statement confirmed. "All Blacks management contacted this afternoon to advise that no one from their legal or management team has been in contact with the UFC.
"It appears there has been miscommunication between the UFC and a lawyer from same law firm who look after the All Blacks trademark rights.
"The All Blacks have been very gracious under the circumstances and reassured us that they're very much supporters of our New Zealand UFC team and other New Zealand sport teams going overseas and that's heartening for us.
"We're also want to reiterate that we're ardent supporters of the All Blacks and what they do for our country.
"We are pleased to say we will be making our walk to the cage as proud Kiwis with the silver fern on our shoulder, as we have for the past five years."
Earlier, Bareman admitted the image the UFC use could possibly be a copy-and-paste of that of the All Blacks, but said if that was the case the image could be redesigned rather than replaced.
The timing of the complaint was strange, given the UFC have been using the image on their New Zealand fight kits since 2015.
The UFC are yet to comment on the situation.