by Jeff Cain – MMAWeekly.com
When Ultimate Fighting Championship president Dana White announced that the leading mixed martial arts promotion had struck a sponsorship deal with Anheuser-Busch, he was ecstatic about the partnership and optimistic about the possibilities.
“This is a historical moment for the company,” he said at a press conference in Columbus, Ohio on Feb. 28, announcing the deal. “I can’t express to you enough how excited I am.”
Anheuser-Busch is stepping up its involvement in MMA by making UFC middleweight champion Anderson “The Spider” Silva and former UFC light heavyweight titleholder Chuck “The Iceman” Liddell spokesmen for the Bud Light brand.
Silva’s manager, Ed Soares, told MMAWeekly Radio, “We just finalized a deal with Anheuser-Busch. Him (Silva) and Chuck Liddell are going to be spokespeople for Bud Light and Anheuser-Busch here in the U.S.”
When reached for comment, Liddell told MMAWeekly, “It’s great. It’s really nice that these companies are getting behind MMA. Bud Light’s been around a long time. I think it’s a great sponsor to have.”
The campaign is set to hit 4,000 convenience stores throughout the country immediately as well as include billboards and television commercial appearances.
Anheuser-Busch’s Bud Light brand has a three-year deal with Zuffa, LLC, (the parent company of the UFC and World Extreme Cagefighting) and is the exclusive beer sponsor of the UFC and WEC. The Bud Light logo took over the center position on the canvas of the Octagon at UFC 84 in Las Vegas on May 24.
“Landing Anheuser-Busch and Bud Light is huge for us, our fighters and especially our fans,” said White at the time of the announcement in February. “We’ve got the No. 1 selling beer in the world and one of the top marketers in all of sports as our sponsor. If our TV ratings, pay-per-view buys and venue sell-outs weren’t enough, this definitely cements UFC as a major player in sports business.”