The Ultimate Fighting Championship has inked a three-year deal with Anheuser Busch, arguably the biggest sports marketer of them all, that will go into effect at UFC 84 in May.
If nothing else, this is yet another sign of MMA - and the more specifically the UFC - becoming more visible in the mainstream. Not to mention the fact that the UFC is now in business with one of the biggest advertisers in the world. (Can someone verify that for me? Thanks in advance.)
And as far as blue-chip sponsors go, they don’t get much bigger than Anheuser-Busch. The St. Louis-based brewer is responsible for 48.5 percent of all beer sales domestically. The company, founded in 1852, brews more than 40 different beers and malt liquors.
Oh, thanks. God, the people at MMAjunkie do a hell of a job.
However, the deal with the UFC will focus solely on the Bud Light brand.
So what does this mean for Mickey's - the lovable malt liquor that UFC fans have grown to know and love as the official beer of the UFC. Mickey's: Get Stung! It's a malt liquor for God's sake! Mickey's is the UFC.
Since we started watching the UFC a few years ago Roommate Mike and I have always toyed with the idea of ordering a case of Mickey's 40's for a fight night. We never actually did it, but just the fact that we thought about it was a real testiment of what Mickey's meant to the MMA culture.
A few weeks ago I was in Massachusetts visiting my brother. While I was there we went to a "package store" to buy beer. When I was browsing the native beer selection I noticed something that had alluded my upstate New York self for years: a Mickey's 40-ounce.
Let me tell you my friends - it was a beautiful site. Someday, when I am old and reliving the greatest moments of my life, I'll talk about Lauren, the Marlins winning the World Series(es), the birth of my children, and the day I was buying booze for my underage brother in Massachusetts and saw a 40-ounce bottle of malt liquor that I'd never tasted before. That's how special Mickey's is. It's birth-of-a-child special.
I bought 2 - one for me and one for Mike. I knew it was one of those experiences that roommates need to share. Honesty, it keeps the relationship fresh - Fresh like a Mickey's!
When we untwisted the caps later that night we were both pleasantly surprised that it was actually pretty good. Make no mistake, this is high praise coming from us. Mike and I are both noted cheap beer connoisseurs. We've even had Four 0 [Street Legal] which caused temporary blindness in our other roommate, Justin.
With that in mind, I hope that Bud's involvement in the UFC doesn't push Mickey's from our lives. If anything, it's a reminder of the UFC's roots in our living rooms. My living room at least.