UFC CEO and president Dana White has faced criticism from fans this week.
In response, Dana White denies that he is a sellout for partnering with Bud Light again after the Dylan Mulvaney controversy. According to White, the decision to bring back Bud Light as the official beer sponsor of the UFC was not solely driven by money.
The UFC has signed a six-year sponsorship deal with Bud Light, which will start in January and is rumored to be worth over $100 million. Bud Light will replace Modelo as the official beer sponsor of the UFC.
This deal comes about six months after Bud Light collaborated with transgender social media influencer Dylan Mulvaney for an ad campaign during March Madness, which sparked anger and boycotts across the country.
During an interview with Fox News, White explained that he believes his core values align with Anheuser-Busch, the parent company of Bud Light.
“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.”
White further addressed his critics during the post-fight press conference, emphasizing that this deal was not solely motivated by money.
“When it comes to Anheuser-Busch and Bud Light, everybody talks about, oh, you did it for the 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 showed up, and they were the only option I had to get money.
“This was all about everybody on every side of this deal that were involved, other beer companies and everything else, absolutely positively know this was not about money for me. We were going to end up with money with no matter who we ended up with for Anheuser-Busch, it was about values, 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.”
White acknowledged the potential backlash the UFC may face for partnering with Bud Light, but he expressed that he is not concerned about it. He also explained why he feels aligned with Anheuser-Busch and its vision, making it a sensible deal for both him and the UFC.
“I saw some f—ing a–hole today saying it sounds like they wrote a script on what to say. Nobody writes me a script. Nobody tells me what to say, ever… If you look at every quote that I put out, every quote is me. Everything that’s posted on social media is me, and everything that comes out of this mouth is me. Nobody tells me what to say, nobody tells what to do, ever.”
“Everything I said about Anheuser-Busch and Bud Light is absolutely true, I am a big military and law enforcement guy. 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, that is right up my alley.”
“Almost $1 billion a year goes to U.S. farmers for their crops and 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 can go on and tell you why I’m more aligned with Anheuser-Busch than any other beer company.”
The deal with Bud Light is seen by many as an effort by the beer company to rebrand with a younger audience, especially after facing significant sales decline following the Mulvaney campaign.