After 11 years with Topps, UFC is moving its trading card license to Panini America. Panini announced the multi-year licensing agreement Tuesday morning and plans to use the popular Prizm brand in its initial April release as well as Select (July), Chronicles (September), and Immaculate (December). “This truly is a dream matchup that brings together the unquestioned leaders of trading cards and combat sports for a partnership that will captivate UFC fans and collectors across the globe for years,” Panini America CEA Mark Warsop said.
When it comes to NFL and NBA cards, the Panini Prizm brand is a big draw for collectors who are after rookie cards. UFC has a youth movement led by names like Khamzat Chimaev and Michael Chandler, whose rookie cards would likely be a part of April’s Panini release.
Topps UFC cards had been missing the hobby’s speculatory aspect, which allows collectors to invest in the rookie cards of athletes who they think may break out. Panini’s Prizm brand could change that with base, silver, and other UFC rookie and star cards variations.
Panini America also plans to take advantage of UFC’s most significant moments in real-time with its direct-to-consumer Panini Instant platform. UFC has a loaded slate of fights leading up to the initial April Panini Prizm release, with some of the biggest names in the sport set to fight, including Usman vs. Burns (Feb. 13th), Blachowitz vs. Adesanya (Mar. 6th), and Miocic vs. Ngannou (Mar. 27th).