Sponsorship deals in MMA are nothing new, but major brands that typically haven’t been associated with MMA in the past getting on board is still news, and another large company has stepped up to support Jim Miller in anticipation of his fight on May 5 in New Jersey.

Bass Pro Shops has signed on to sponsor Miller for his upcoming fight on May 5 against Nate Diaz for UFC on Fox 3.

Known as one of the largest retailers of outdoor sporting equipment and gear, Bass Pro Shops is a highly visible brand in the hunting, fishing and outdoor sports world.

The branding of Bass Pro Shops seems like a natural fit for Miller, who is a noted outdoorsman, but even more important is the crossover appeal for a major brand like Bass Pro Shops to step in to support a MMA fighter.

“When not training or spending time with my family it is no secret that I enjoy being outdoors or working in my workshop. Walking into a Bass Pro Shop is like opening up gifts on Christmas,” Miller said via a release on Monday. “There are so many great items in the store, that I don’t know what direction to head first. It feels great to be the first fighter representing Bass Pro in the Octagon.”

In the MMA world, larger sponsors are getting involved like Bud Light and Harley Davidson promoting through the UFC, while brands like Under Armour have signed on to be represented by UFC champion Georges St-Pierre.

Still, MMA is a new sport to many large companies and despite their appeal to the key demographic of 18-34 year old males, it’s taking time for sponsors outside of the general sport’s branding to get involved.

Miller’s representatives at KOReps, who landed the deal, say that a sponsor like Bass Pro Shops getting involves shows that the crossover appeal is starting to happen more often.

“Having companies such as Bass Pro step up and sponsor UFC athletes shows the tremendous amount of value advertisers see in the MMA demographic,” said Oren Hodak, president of KOReps. “The demographic watching MMA action has always been a target market for numerous advertisers. Combine that with the viewership numbers of FOX and it made for a perfect storm. We plan to bring in more and more endemic sponsors in the near future. Other companies will one by one follow the lead of companies such as Bass Pro.”

Miller will be doing several promotions around his deal with Bass Pro Shops prior to his May 5 showdown with Nate Diaz in his home state of New Jersey.

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