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UFC signs sponsorship deal with Modelo, replaces Bud Light in U.S.

UFC Guilherme Cruz, MMA Fighting

Move over Bud Light.

On Monday, the UFC announced that they would be ending their nine-year relationship with beer company Anheuser-Busch Cos. Inc. that regularly saw the Bud Light logo prominently featured inside the Octagon at events, and moving on to a multiyear sponsorship deal with Mexican import brand Modelo Especial, per ABC News.

The new deal is expected to begin in 2018, with Modelo receiving similar exposure as far as branding in the UFC cage and advertisements featuring the company’s fighters and personalities.

Despite moving on to a new sponsor, UFC chief operating officer Ike Lawerence Epstein credited Bud Light with lending credibility to the budding fight promotion as its mainstream profile soared.

“When Bud signed on to be our sponsor, it sent a significant message that UFC was a real player in the sports landscape,” Epstein said, according to Dan Gelston of ABC News. “It gave us a tremendous amount of credibility with other sponsors. And not just sponsors. Television networks and venues and, frankly, anybody involved in the business of sports entertainment around the world.”

The terms of the new deal with Modelo have not been disclosed.

Modelo is the No. 2 import brand in the United States, trailing only Corona. Unlike Bud Light, its sponsorship deal with the UFC is exclusively for events taking place in the U.S., leaving the promotion free to pursue international deals with other beer companies.

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