Dana White anticipated backlash after the UFC inked a lucrative new multi-year sponsorship with Bud Light, but he’s certainly not changing his mind – or apologizing for the deal.
In 2024, Bud Light will again become the official beer of the UFC. The partnership comes after the AB InBev-owned brand faced boycotts after partnering with trans activist and TikTok star Dylan Mulvaney. Bud Light sustained enormous financial losses, and the company was also chastised for not supporting Mulvaney after she dealt with a barrage of transphobic comments.
Those cries for a boycott extended to the UFC after the Bud Light deal was announced, with some vocal fans declaring they would no longer support the MMA promotion. In response, the UFC CEO fired back at the criticism, especially those claiming the deal was only brokered because Bud Light offered the most money.
“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?”
The UFC has touted record sponsorship deals over the past few years including Endeavor CEO Ari Emanuel praising 2022 as “the best sponsorship year ever” for the promotion.
White argued that the decision to partner with Bud Light didn’t come down to dollars and cents.
“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,” White said. “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.”
White also unleashed at the suggestion he was defending Bud Light mainly thanks to the new sponsorship deal with the UFC.
“I saw some other f****** assh*** say today saying, ‘It sounds like they wrote him a script on what to say.’ Nobody writes me a script,” White said defiantly. “Nobody tells me what to say. Ever.
“When I come out and I say something publicly, if you look at every quote that I put out, every quote is me. Everything that goes out on social media is me, and everything that comes out of this mouth is me. Nobody tells me what to say, and nobody tells me what to do. Ever. The things that I said about Anheuser-Busch yesterday are absolutely true.”
More than anything, White says the decision for the UFC to partner with Bud Light really came down to a shared vision he has with the company.
“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.”