It must be nice to be Bud Light and its parent company, Anheuser-Busch InBev.
But it must be nice to just be able to throw untold amounts of money at your problems. (That’s not to say it’ll work … but it must be nice.)
The latest attempt by Bud Light to fix its horribly damaged image is actually a smart move in a vacuum.
On Tuesday, the company announced that it was the official beer of UFC again in a post on social media.
— Bud Light (@budlight) October 24, 2023
“We’re proud to announce that starting in 2024, we’ll once again be the official beer sponsor of @UFC,” Bud Light boasted in its post.
The reason that this move makes sense in a vacuum is simple: There is no other professional sports league in North America that has swaths of conservative-leaning fans like UFC does, save for perhaps NASCAR.
If you’re trying to get back in the good graces of those fans, there is no better way to do so than through their favorite pro sport.
But alas, the real world does not operate within a vacuum — so it’s hard to describe this latest move from Bud Light as anything other than a mistake for UFC.
As news of the new Bud Light partnership spread, so, too, did the generally negative backlash against it.
Time to boycott the UFC. https://t.co/mVEbameTIV
— LeftyLooneys (@Leftylooneys) October 24, 2023
“Time to boycott the UFC,” one upset social media user posted, in a sentiment that started cropping up more and more on social media.
— FLSunbumm (@FLSunbumm) October 24, 2023
— Draven von Lycanthrope (@CryptidAnalysis) October 25, 2023
I thought this was a joke. I guess the UFC will do anything to grow, but I won’t be a part of it. UFC294 was my last PPV buy. What a shame it will bring fans away from the sport. Plus, Modelo is actually a good beer.
— Shoulder to the Stone (@shouldertostone) October 25, 2023
“I thought this was a joke,” one stunned social media user quipped. “I guess the UFC will do anything to grow, but I won’t be a part of it. UFC294 was my last PPV buy. What a shame it will bring fans away from the sport. Plus, Modelo is actually a good beer.”
Yes, it appears that the once-beloved Bud Light has become such a toxic brand that it’s an active detriment to whomever it partners with.
But that’s the key word — “partners” — that needs a little more investigation, because it takes two to tango in any business partnership.
Because it’s not exactly a well-kept secret that Bud Light is reaching a nuclear level of toxicity, which begs the question of why UFC willingly got in bed with a brand that’s so polarizing and divisive.
Well, it doesn’t really beg the question. We all know the answer is that UFC accepted this partnership for either clout or money — and the pro fighting league certainly doesn’t need help with clout.
And we know UFC knew how toxic Bud Light was, because there was nearly identical backlash when Bud Light announced its grand partnership with the NFL in August.
Perhaps trying to get in front of the talking point that UFC sold its soul at the altar of cheap beer and transgenderism, UFC president Dana White appeared on Sean Hannity’s eponymous show on Tuesday.
You can watch the relevant segment below:
White’s initial defense of Bud Light’s pro-transgender debacle wasn’t much of a defense at all, as he seemed to be arguing, “Who cares about the LGBT stuff? Look at all the good things they do!”
White rattled off a number of things that Bud Light does, like hiring within and purchasing American. White also touted Bud Light’s willingness and eagerness to hire veterans.
These are all commendable causes, to be sure … but hardly unique to Bud Light. Any number of beer companies can brag about similar patriotic branding.
White’s going to have to do better than that.
“Those are the things that I’m focused on,” White said. “When I look at a long-term sponsor that’s going to be, we’re going to be doing a six-year deal here, I want [it] to be someone that I’m aligned with.”
It’s at this point that Hannity actually revealed that White had had the chance to partner with other beer companies, but specifically chose Bud Light.
“I know you don’t need the money,” Hannity said. “Because you have more money than anyone could ever want and probably for a thousand lifetimes.
“So you didn’t do it for the money.”
After confirming that the deal wasn’t due to money, both White and Hannity sort of just floundered around the topic of whether or not White was eagerly getting into bed with people who genuinely think that men can become women with little more than surgery and drugs.
Look, you can color this writer skeptical that money wasn’t a primary factor in this.
Bud Light has made it abundantly clear that it will throw money at this problem until it goes away — assuming it ever does.
If UFC and Dana White are cool with being complicit with that, they should just come out and admit it.
Pretending that Bud Light is some ultra-patriotic bastion of virtue that is such an honor to partner with is, in all actuality, a little pandering and sickening.
This article appeared originally on The Western Journal.