UFC CEO and president Dana White set the record straight on “Hannity” on Tuesday night regarding the sports organization’s decision to bring back Bud Light as its official beer sponsor.
“When you do sponsorships, you definitely do sponsorships for the money, too. Money is definitely a part of it, but money was not the decision-making [factor],” White told FOX News’ Sean Hannity.
“There’s more to being aligned with a sponsor, a major sponsor like that, for as long as I’m going to be… There are many other things that are important to me other than just the money,” he continued. “And the people that were all involved in this negotiation, on every side, absolutely, positively know that my choice was not determined by money.”
On Tuesday, the mixed martial arts organization revealed it struck a multiyear deal with Anheuser-Busch involving the Bud Light brand having a heavy presence in UFC’s content in its broadcasts and online beginning in 2024.
Sources close to the deal reportedly told ESPN that this marks the biggest sponsorship agreement in UFC history.
The decision comes following customer and media backlash against Bud Light’s decision to endorse transgender influencer Dylan Mulvaney, with many critics complaining that the marketing decision and Mulvaney’s social media posts did not resonate with the consumer base.
White explained why he was able to look past the recent controversy, focusing on Anheuser-Busch’s core values.
“They were the first beer company that we really did business with. They were our first real big sponsor when we were getting started, and now we’re back with them,” White said. “I know all the controversy and everything else, but for myself, going into a long-term deal with another sponsor, I want to be with somebody that I’m actually aligned with.”
“They employ 65,000 Americans. They have thousands of vets that work for them. They spend $700 million a year with U.S. farmers using their crops to make their products and many, many other great things that Anheuser-Busch has done in this country,” UFC’s CEO noted.
He also applauded Anheuser-Busch’s support for Folds of Honor, a nonprofit organization that provides scholarships to spouses and children of fallen or disabled veterans and first responders.
“I’m very big into law enforcement and military. And over the last, I don’t know how many years, they’ve spent, like, $45 million taking care of these servicemen and first responders who have died, taking care of their families, scholarships for their kids and things like that. So I am very aligned with Anheuser-Busch,” White expanded.
“Did you know that when there’s big disasters, they shut the plant down and they turn it into a water bottling facility?” he added. “And they’ve bottled, like, 100 million bottles of water that they’ve sent out to disaster areas. I’m going to focus on the good that they do. We are very aligned in many different areas and that’s why they’re going to be my partner for the next six years.”