UFC sponsor Anheuser-Busch warns promotion to monitor fighter behavior

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grappler0000
4/27/12 3:32:58AM
Blue-chip sponsor Anheuser-Busch has sent a message that it's keeping an eye on the behavior of UFC fighters outside the cage.

The multi-national brewer, which owns the Bud Light and Bud Light Lime brands prominently advertised in the UFC, reprimanded the fight promotion for a series of sexist and homophobic remarks made by fighters in public and over social media.

"If the incidents continue, we will act," Anheuser-Busch said in a statement prepared for Advertising Age...

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pmoney
4/27/12 7:20:08AM
I felt very conflicted when I read this article. On the one hand, I want MMA to succeed in the mainstream. And sometimes I do think certain fighters and certain representatives (Joe Rogan, Dana White) have very detrimental public images, justly based on detrimental conduct. There are other issues that can hurt the mainstream aspirations of mixed martial arts, but these shortcomings are the most easily correctable, IMO.

On the other hand, part of me said "Fuck Anheuser-Busch!!" Getting a lecture from that company about what's good for society is like taking parenting advice from Chris Benoit. Lots of people probably appreciate the realness of the fighters. The UFC is onward and upward with this FOX deal. I wouldn't be surprised if they were able to make a lateral sponsor move from if the need were to arise.
warglory
4/27/12 7:38:26AM

Posted by pmoney

I felt very conflicted when I read this article. On the one hand, I want MMA to succeed in the mainstream. And sometimes I do think certain fighters and certain representatives (Joe Rogan, Dana White) have very detrimental public images, justly based on detrimental conduct. There are other issues that can hurt the mainstream aspirations of mixed martial arts, but these shortcomings are the most easily correctable, IMO.

On the other hand, part of me said "Fuck Anheuser-Busch!!" Getting a lecture from that company about what's good for society is like taking parenting advice from Chris Benoit. Lots of people probably appreciate the realness of the fighters. The UFC is onward and upward with this FOX deal. I wouldn't be surprised if they were able to make a lateral sponsor move from if the need were to arise.



If you want MMA to be mainstream, this is a part of the path, like it or not. Big time fighters can't be making jokes about rape on twitter, it just can't happen. The UFC is a professional sports organization that desperately wants credibility to hang with the big boys.
Shawn91111
4/27/12 7:41:39AM
What message does it send when the fighters get a bonus for posting on twitter, and have a president who has called reporters every name in the book. It has to start at the top
kopower
4/27/12 8:27:47AM

Posted by Shawn91111

What message does it send when the fighters get a bonus for posting on twitter, and have a president who has called reporters every name in the book. It has to start at the top



Sir_Karl
4/27/12 8:30:07AM
I wonder if Anheuser-Busch worries about the behavior of the people who drink their product? I think that is who they should be worried about instead. Alcohol is the drug with the worst impact on society. Alcohol companies are nothing more than "legit" cartels. Their concern over fighter behavior is insulting to anyone with half a brain.
scoozna
4/27/12 9:11:10AM
Well I think we all knew this was coming. What I hope for is that A-B knows it has to make statements like this, but they've been a sponsor since 2008, they (hopefully) know the UFC and what Dana & Co. are like, and they do what they have to and give a nod and a wink to Dana. In other words, like in politics, they make their grandstanding statements, but they don't really do anything about it.
NE-1
4/27/12 9:17:33AM
I've long said that if MMA is to achieve mainstream elite sport status (football, basketball, etc.) They will need a new front man. Dana White is no Roger Goodell or David Stern.

I realize what he's done for the sport and that at one point the UFC needed someone like him, but that time has passed. When the behavior of the President is cause for concern and a possible detriment to the advancement of the company it's time to step-aside. No need to resign, but be a bit more behind the scenes like Fertita.

The most concerning thing to me is the letter sent by the Domestic Abuse agency to New York imploring them to uphold their ban on the UFC based on the actions of fighters and explicitly Dana White and Joe Rogan. That's no good.
cowcatcher
4/27/12 9:28:00AM
Dump those St Louis swill peddlers and move on to real sponsors that make real beer in a real city.

BuffaloDave
4/27/12 9:50:16AM
Guess the NFL gets a pass then.
Chael_Sonnen
4/27/12 9:59:19AM
A beer company monitoring fight behavior? BRILLIANT!

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scoozna
4/27/12 10:06:36AM

Posted by cowcatcher

Dump those St Louis swill peddlers and move on to real sponsors that make real beer in a real city.




Hell yeah!
KingCmb
4/27/12 10:09:12AM
or we could go a different direction


http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8Z8XhIDXuFQ




isk
4/27/12 10:59:31AM
It's a negotiation. AB expresses a desire like this because while they might actually get it, they're more likely to compromise and get a bit less to keep an advertising platform happy. AB's also setting a reason here to back out in the future if another "surprise van" tweet pops up. Whether AB would be pulling out more for financial reasons is immaterial - it set the expectation and would get a little good press out of it.

And sure, while alcohol's responsible for a lot more bad stuff than inappropriate tweets, AB is still a business with PR and marketing teams and they need to keep the company image as sound as possible.

In short, it's the advertising/politics/power game, nothing new here.
cowcatcher
4/27/12 11:11:53AM

Posted by BuffaloDave

Guess the NFL gets a pass then.



To be fair those guys only fund dog fighting rings and kill their pregnant girlfriends.
KungFuMaster
4/27/12 11:23:34AM

Posted by scoozna

Well I think we all knew this was coming. What I hope for is that A-B knows it has to make statements like this, but they've been a sponsor since 2008, they (hopefully) know the UFC and what Dana & Co. are like, and they do what they have to and give a nod and a wink to Dana. In other words, like in politics, they make their grandstanding statements, but they don't really do anything about it.



Scoozna, you really need to post more. The Playground could sure use some of your wisdom.

I completely agree with your statement and I would like to add - This is a publicity stunt from Anheuser-Busch geared toward protecting its nest by attempting to associate with the good and disassociate with the bad in all things considered UFC.

If Anheuser-Busch is ever to pull the plug on the UFC, it will not be because of fighter's behavior.
BigBadAl
4/27/12 11:47:56AM

Posted by kopower


Posted by Shawn91111

What message does it send when the fighters get a bonus for posting on twitter, and have a president who has called reporters every name in the book. It has to start at the top






Yeah, but personally I find Mr White's attitude refreshing in business. Other than him, all you hear others in similar standing say is what they think they should say, rather than what they actually think.

Not that I agree with half the things he says and does, I just appreciate that he keeps it real (ish).
airkerma
4/27/12 12:20:18PM
This isn't that surprising, Exxon recently sent me a letter telling me I was polluting too much. Good thing profit driven organizations are looking out for society
jay98107
4/27/12 12:31:52PM

Posted by BuffaloDave

Guess the NFL gets a pass then.



Gimme a ring when UFC makes anything even close to the revenue the NFL does.
george112
4/27/12 12:46:24PM

Posted by jay98107


Posted by BuffaloDave

Guess the NFL gets a pass then.



Gimme a ring when UFC makes anything even close to the revenue the NFL does.




Sooooooo true.


The NFL is light years ahead of the UFC and always will be
machodog76
4/27/12 1:42:45PM
Hamms is better anyway.
Darnok
4/27/12 2:35:46PM

Posted by BigBadAl

Yeah, but personally I find Mr White's attitude refreshing in business. Other than him, all you hear others in similar standing say is what they think they should say, rather than what they actually think.

Not that I agree with half the things he says and does, I just appreciate that he keeps it real (ish).





I like that he speaks his mind. Too many people just want to hear the PC crap. Not me.
ncordless
4/27/12 5:25:58PM

Posted by scoozna

Well I think we all knew this was coming. What I hope for is that A-B knows it has to make statements like this, but they've been a sponsor since 2008, they (hopefully) know the UFC and what Dana & Co. are like, and they do what they have to and give a nod and a wink to Dana. In other words, like in politics, they make their grandstanding statements, but they don't really do anything about it.



This is not a serious warning by A-B, but anything like this from the UFC's top sponsor is going to send a signal that I doubt the UFC will ignore. UFC is not the dominant party in that relationship. They need that Bud stamp on the Octagon much more than Bud needs it there.

A-B has a huge PR operation because they have lots of problems (shitty beer, sexist advertising, etc.). The UFC doesn't have anything close to a full-fledged corporate PR outfit. The way it is working is that A-B monitors everything that has any connection with them. When the rape jokes start getting buzz, it goes up the A-B flagpole. This is just A-B letting UFC know that some A-B exec got a memo that he did not like. It is not too bad until someone starts complaining. If someone with an axe to grind, such as that Vegas SEIU outfit that got the UFC investigated by the feds, starts flaming by using the very plentiful ammo that is UFC fighter twats and Dana quotes, the sponsors will put pressure on the UFC to shape up.

Most sponsors wouldn't make Zuffa sweat, but A-B and FOX sure as hell will. There has been talk for a couple years that Lorenzo is looking to cash out before long. The price he is will get in a private sale or by taking the company public is going to be largely dictated by the relationship with these two companies. PPV buys have plateaued. They are still generally strong, but a prospective buyer won't be looking at them as value because there is no real model for expansion in that market that is going to work. The new model is going to be more like a normal professional sport: TV deals and big sponsorships.
warglory
4/27/12 5:57:41PM

Posted by Sir_Karl

I wonder if Anheuser-Busch worries about the behavior of the people who drink their product? I think that is who they should be worried about instead. Alcohol is the drug with the worst impact on society. Alcohol companies are nothing more than "legit" cartels. Their concern over fighter behavior is insulting to anyone with half a brain.



Well you better group every fast food chain in there, every company that sells tobacco products, car manufacturers (you gotta have a car to drive drunk after all), casino conglomerates etc. There are so many companies out there that cater to vices, you can't demonize a company that provides a legal measure of pleasure to the public.
machodog76
4/27/12 6:21:22PM

Posted by warglory


Posted by Sir_Karl

I wonder if Anheuser-Busch worries about the behavior of the people who drink their product? I think that is who they should be worried about instead. Alcohol is the drug with the worst impact on society. Alcohol companies are nothing more than "legit" cartels. Their concern over fighter behavior is insulting to anyone with half a brain.



Well you better group every fast food chain in there, every company that sells tobacco products, car manufacturers (you gotta have a car to drive drunk after all), casino conglomerates etc. There are so many companies out there that cater to vices, you can't demonize a company that provides a legal measure of pleasure to the public.

I love beer but to compare it's negative impact on society to that of automobiles and fast food is just incorrect. The first thing that to go when drinking is your judgment. You are never going to go out for a night of driving and end up committing suicide, murdering a loved one, picking a fight with a group of Samoans at 3am etc.. because you had too much driving that night. Alcohol is a dangerous drug that ruins a lot of lives fast food and cars just don't compare in my opinion.

Pookie
4/27/12 7:27:25PM
I think people are too concerned with their image, and how things appear to be. I get that A-B is a business, but i don't really give a damn about their argument in this case.
scoozna
4/27/12 10:22:33PM

Posted by ncordless
This is just A-B letting UFC know that some A-B exec got a memo that he did not like. It is not too bad until someone starts complaining. If someone with an axe to grind, such as that Vegas SEIU outfit that got the UFC investigated by the feds, starts flaming by using the very plentiful ammo that is UFC fighter twats and Dana quotes, the sponsors will put pressure on the UFC to shape up.



I can see this being the case. I hope the UFC's reaction to it, though, is measured. The pendulum swings one way, and the UFC cracks down on nasty jokes...the pendulum swings the other way, and everyone forgets there was a problem for a while...etc.
scoozna
4/27/12 10:23:46PM

Posted by KungFuMaster

Scoozna, you really need to post more. The Playground could sure use some of your wisdom.



You're too kind....it's a trade off...youth for wisdom.
Bubbles
4/27/12 10:45:20PM

Posted by cowcatcher


Posted by BuffaloDave

Guess the NFL gets a pass then.



To be fair those guys only fund dog fighting rings and kill their pregnant girlfriends.


dont forget all the guns they supply their athletes with