There’s a new beast stepping into the octagon.
Last week, the Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) announced a multi-year partnership with Monster Energy. As part of the new deal, Monster’s logo will get center placement on the UFC canvas, as well as promotion on other entities inside and around the octagon-shaped cage where its affiliated mixed martial artists battle. Additionally, the company has secured athlete sponsorships with a handful of UFC superstars, including women’s bantamweight champion Ronda Rousey and former titleholders Anthony “Showtime” Pettis and Johny Hendricks.
The title of “Official Energy Drink of the UFC” is one that previously belonged to zero-calorie energy drink brand Xyience, which ended its 10-year sponsorship of the UFC last September when it was acquired by independent soda company Big Red Ltd. At the time, Big Red CEO Gary Smith said he wanted to soften up Xyience’s cage brawler image and “make it a little less hardcore than the image that it’s got today.”
This isn’t Monster’s first involvement with the rapidly growing sport of mixed martial arts (MMA). In February, 2014, Monster signed on to become the official energy drink of Bellator MMA, the UFC’s rival promotion. Monster also previously sponsored MMA fighters Quentin ‘Rampage’ Jackson and Dominick Cruz.
“We are excited to partner with the world’s leading mixed martial arts organization as the official drink of UFC as we expand our commitment into the MMA category,” said Monster’s Senior Vice President of Marketing Sam Pontrelli in a company press release. “Through this partnership we will build a stronger brand position and expand our reach globally, thereby gaining exposure to a new audience while supporting the sport’s premiere athletes.”
Monster appears content embracing some of the more aggressive imagery that surrounds the brand. In addition to its involvement in MMA the company sponsors an array of other so-called extreme sports from F1 racing to supercross to bull-riding.