In just a few short months, Modelo Especial will become the official beer of the Ultimate Fighting Championship. Rumors of the deal have been circulating for a while, but it is now confirmed.
The multiyear deal with Modelo Especial will start in 2018. And while the Mexican import will not necessarily affect updated MMA odds, it has many implications for the future of the UFC.
Anheuser-Busch Cos. Inc. entered into business with the largest MMA Company in the world in 2008. So it might be a while before UFC fans acclimate to the absence of the Bud Light Logo which has been at the center of the Octagon for all major fights for the last several years.
It should be noted that Modelo branding will only adorn the UFC octagon and related MMA merchandise for events taking place in the United States. The multimillion deal is also expected to see UFC fighters feature in Modelo marketing campaigns.
Modelo and the UFC are not saying too much about the minutiae of the contract, and it’s unlikely that UFC fans care that much. The UFC hasn’t stopped gushing about the opportunities Modelo brings to the table.
UFC officials praised the brand for its commitment to MMA fans. UFC President Dana White suggested that the two entities had plans for further collaborations down the line.
It is worth pointing out that Modelo is one of the biggest import brands in North America, only second to Corona. So they are definitely a big player, one that should effectively step into Anheuser-Busch’s shoes.
They are already working with the Chicago White Sox and the Golden State Warriors. In signing a deal with the UFC, Modelo is showing a determination to expand their grasp over the sports arena in the United States.
Modelo officials said they were looking to diversify their consumer base by bringing their product into the households of the general market consumer. Modelo makes beer specifically for the United States, which explains why their UFC deal is exclusively restricted to events taking place in the United States.
Anheuser-Busch was a powerful component of the UFC’s operations. They held real power within the organization and they used it to force changes within the ranks of the UFC, such as threatening to drop the MMA outfit if they didn’t deal with the sexism and homophobia within their ranks.
Brock Lesnar was once forced to make a public apology after he spoke negatively about Bud Light at a UFC event. The UFC was willing to put up with Anheuser-Busch’s interference because of the implications of its contract.
Bud Light brought authenticity to the UFC. It gave the MMA outfit added credibility not only with other sponsors but also television networks. Modelo is expected to bring that same level of credence to the table.
The two entities are expected to feed off one another. Modelo has the capacity to take the UFC brand to new circles of the market. An added bonus is the flexibility the UFC has to enter into contract with other beer companies; so one assumes Dana White will use the Modelo name to attract a couple more brands to the table. The Bud Light deal didn’t give the UFC that option.