The UFC’s new multi-year, $100 million deal with Bud Light is the biggest brand sponsorship in the history of the company, but after being accused of being a sell-out, Dana White has fired back and insisted that it’s about much more than just the money that was on the table.
Bud Light will take over from Modelo as the UFC’s official beer sponsor starting next year at a turbulent time for the brand after suffering a big hit in sales due to a backlash over a previous partnership with trans influencer Dylan Mulvaney.
The UFC has now been caught up in the commotion, with some fans threatening to boycott the promotion over the money-spinning deal, but White says he expected the criticism prior to signing the deal and stands firm in his decision to reunite with the beer brand that the company has a long history with.
“Believe me, if you think that I got into this thinking that wouldn’t happen, you’re out of your mind,” White said during the Power Slap 5 post-fight press conference. “People are very opinionated about this. It’s almost like through COVID. What did I say during COVID? Somebody’s got to be first and there are reasons why I felt we could be first going through COVID. I knew that we would do it right. You know the story.
“But when it comes to Anheuser-Busch and Bud Light, everybody talks about, ‘Oh you did it for money!’ Hey dummies, all sponsorship deals are about money. So when you talk about being a sellout, I have multiple deals in front of me. So it’s not like Bud Light showed up and they were the only option I had to get money. You know how f****** stupid that is?”
“This was all about everybody on every side of this deal that were involved, other beer companies and everything else, [and they] absolutely, positively know this was not about money for me.
We were going to end up with money no matter who we ended up with.
“For Anheuser-Busch, it was about core values for me. I’m at a point in my life and I’m at a point in my career where nothing is just about money anymore.
“I am a big military-law enforcement guy,” White explained. “They have this folds of honor where they’ve spent $44 million over the last however many years, fallen first responders and military people, their families get taken care of with this money. Scholarships for their kids, etc. That is right up my alley. Almost a billion dollars a year go to U.S. farmers for their crops for their products. That is right up my alley. That’s exactly who I am. 65,000 Americans are employed by Anheuser-Busch and thousands of them are vets. Right up my alley.
“I could keep going on forever, and tell you why I am more aligned with Anheuser-Busch than any of the other beer companies that were offering to pay us money.”