UFC fans are fighting mad about the mixed martial arts league’s new partnership with ailing beer brand Bud Light.
On Tuesday, the UFC announced that Bud Light would be the league’s official beer brand in a multi-year deal that begins in 2024.
“Anheuser-Busch and Bud Light were UFC’s original beer sponsors more than fifteen years ago. I’m proud to announce we are back in business together,” said UFC CEO Dana White.
“There are many reasons why I chose to go with Anheuser-Busch and Bud Light, most importantly because I feel we are very aligned when it comes to our core values and what the UFC brand stands for,” he continued.
— Draven von Lycanthrope (@CryptidAnalysis) October 25, 2023
“I’m looking forward to all of the incredible things we will do in the years ahead.”
The partnership is not a new one, but will rekindle a relationship that fizzled out in 2019, when Modelo took over as their chief beer sponsor.
Modelo has since knocked Bud Light out as the top selling beer brand in the United States, since parent company Anheuser-Busch lost billions due to an ill-conceived partnership with transgender influencer Dylan Mulvaney.
Sales have reportedly gotten so weak that Anheuser-Busch has had to offer beer distributors $150 million in incentives to keep Bud Light stocked on their shelves.
The payout includes reimbursements on freight costs, fuel surcharges, and extra time to pay their invoices off.
A “market share recovery incentive” program is being established by the brand to keep their beer stocked in 2024, after losing over 20% of customers since April’s Mulvaney mishap.
Bud Light is paying $100 Million to be the official beer of @UFC and you know what? Lighting that money on fire would have been less embarrassing than what’s about to happen. Fighters are gonna hate this. Fans will hate it. The customers aren’t coming back @budlight. Period. You… pic.twitter.com/L15A3jBLAW
— Robby Starbuck (@robbystarbuck) October 25, 2023
Anheuser-Busch’s partnership with the UFC is reportedly worth north of $100 million, but White told Fox News’ Sean Hannity that the decision “was the furthest thing about money.”
Instead White insisted that propping up the controversial beer brand was actually about bolstering the U.S. economy.
“These guys employ 65,000 Americans, thousands of vets they employ. They spend over $700 million a year with U.S. farmers, you know, buying their crops for their product. And there’s many, many other reasons that I did this,” he detailed.
Now that UFC is partnered with Bud Light can we expect this to be the new ring "girls"? pic.twitter.com/Tei0eB86Jf
— WatchlistVIP (@WatchlistVip) October 25, 2023
“Where I sit personally with my core values and I felt like the core values of the UFC, even though we’re a global sport, and we have fighters from all over the world,” he continued.
“This is an American company. And I love this country and this is more about me being aligned with somebody who is a sponsor of the UFC and somebody I’m going to work with every day,” White concluded.
While white noted that fans of the sport “might not love” the partnership, but “it wasn’t a tough decision at all.”
Unsurprisingly, furious fans are already calling for a boycott of the UFC for aligning with the brand.
“Bud Light is paying $100 Million to be the official beer of [the UFC] and you know what? Lighting that money on fire would have been less embarrassing than what’s about to happen,” conservative commentator Robby Starbuck began.
Hi @DanaWhite, when you say @UFC & @BudLight “are very aligned when it comes to our core values,” are you saying that UFC is okay with Bud Light promoting the evil transgender ideology of Dylan Mulvaney? Signed, millions of fans who will boycott you too.
— Liz Wheeler (@Liz_Wheeler) October 25, 2023
“Fighters are gonna hate this. Fans will hate it. The customers aren’t coming back [to Bud Light]. Period,” he continued.
“You made your bed with men who think they’re women, now sleep in it. I get that Dana thinks he has to take the easy money but this damages the UFC brand and puts his fighters in bad spots where they WILL speak out against it. Watch. Embarrassment awaits,” his tweet concluded.
“The dumbest move in marketing aside from Bud Light partnering with Dylan Mulvaney is UFC accepting them as their new official sponsor,” conservative YouTuber Mark Dice weighed in. “Way to read the room [Dana White]! MORON!”
Now that Bud Light is sponsoring UFC, they're proud to announce the first match of the season featuring these two fighters: pic.twitter.com/NAiBOeJf1h
— Rob (@Robbopaloobop) October 25, 2023
Podcaster Liz Wheeler also took a swing at White on X, formerly Twitter.
“Hi Dana White, when you say [the UFC] and Bud Light “are very aligned when it comes to our core values,” are you saying that UFC is okay with Bud Light promoting the evil transgender ideology of Dylan Mulvaney? Signed, millions of fans who will boycott you too,” she wrote on Wednesday.
Meanwhile, Mulvaney was just named “Woman of the Year” by LGBTQ+ magazine “Attitude,” and won a 2023 Streamy Award for being a breakout creator due to the Bud Light Fiasco.
— NewsLynx (@CrimsonLynxAI) October 19, 2023
“My life has been changed for the better but also there’s been an extreme amount of transphobia and hate and I know that my community is feeling it and I know that even our allies are feeling it,” Mulvaney remarked on stage.
“I look around this room and I just see so many amazing allies that have platforms and I think allyship right now needs to look differently. You need to support trans people publicly and proudly.”