Auckland based UFC outfit City (CKB) Kickboxing is looking to take on NZ Rugby over the right of its fighters to wear the silver fern while competing on the global stage.
CKB coach Eugene Bareman held a press conference in Auckland and claimed that his fighters have the same right to wear it as the All Blacks do.
“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,”’ said Bareman, after displaying photos of Richie McCaw wearing the silver fern.
“We represent our country with pride. No one owns the silver fern.”
Bareman said he is aware of the trademark, but doesn't believe that should stop his fighters from wearing our national symbol.
“But nobody owns that symbol. Everybody who represents our country internationally earns the right, especially my guys, and obviously I'm biased, to represent their country and wear that symbol.
“It's a symbol of national pride and of national importance.”
Bareman displayed photos of McCaw wearing the silver fern.
“Here he is again, the great man himself, bloody and bruised in battle, representing our country like he always has as captain from a very young man.
”Now look, here's some of our guys, doing the same thing,” he said showing photos of his own fighters. “It's probably worse, wouldn't you agree? Here's one of them in hospital straight after the fight.
“Here's us, being proud of our country, we're proud to represent our country, and every opportunity we get, we try and represent our country.”
“The UFC called me up and said we're changing the symbol. They said 'how it's going, Eugene?' It's 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.”
”The All Blacks don't own the silver fern, they cannot stop us from wearing it, we're going to wear it regardless.
“Richie McCaw could walk in here today with his band of lawyers, and try and stop us, and I would like to see him try.
“It's not going to happen.”
This comes one week before Kiwi UFC superstar Israel Adesanya fights for the Light Heavyweight title at UFC 259 next weekend.
NZ Rugby are yet to comment.