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Bud Light is set to return as the official beer of the UFC in the United States next year


Bud Light is set to return as the official beer of the UFC in the United States next year as the brand seeks to recover from conservative backlash over its promotion featuring influential transgender figure Dylan Malvein.

According to a new multi-year marketing agreement between the mixed martial arts promoter and Bud Light producer Anheuser-Busch, starting from January 1, the brewer will become the "official beer partner" of the UFC in the U.S., both companies announced.

Outside the U.S., AB InBev, the parent company of Anheuser-Busch, will become the official global partner of the UFC.

Financial details of the deal were not disclosed, but citing a person familiar with the matter, Bloomberg reported that the global agreement marks the largest sponsorship in UFC history, surpassing the $175 million fight kit deal signed with Crypto.com in 2021.

A UFC representative declined to comment on the financial terms of the partnership. Anheuser-Busch did not immediately respond to a request for comment on Wednesday.

This is not the first time UFC and the beer brand have partnered up. Anheuser-Busch and Bud Light were the original beer sponsors of the UFC over 15 years ago, said UFC President Dana White in a statement on Tuesday, adding that in his view, UFC, Anheuser-Busch, and Bud Light are "very aligned when it comes to our core values."

The news of the partnership comes in a challenging year for Anheuser-Busch. The brewery faced a month-long decline in Bud Light sales after conservative critics vowed to boycott the brand for sending a commemorative can to influential transgender figure Dylan Malvein earlier this year. Bud Light also faced negative reactions from Malvein's supporters and LGBTQ rights advocacy groups who claimed that the company did not do enough to support her.

In June, Bud Light lost its position as the best-selling beer in America after more than two decades, slipping to second place behind the Mexican lager Modelo Especial. InBev also owns Modelo, but in the U.S., the brand is imported and sold by Constellation Brands.

Amid the decline in Bud Light sales, Anheuser-Busch InBev reported a 10.5% revenue drop in the United States in the second quarter of this year. Meanwhile, the company's overall revenue increased by 7.2% to $15.1 billion compared to the same period a year ago, as global brands like Stella Artois and Corona compensated for the loss of Bud Light sales.