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The UFC has inked a multi-year, multi-million deal with Modelo Especial to serve as the official beer sponsor of the organization in the United States starting in 2018.

The deal comes as the UFC’s current contract with Anheuser-Busch comes to an end later this year.

Modelo — a Mexican import brand that also sponsors teams such as the Golden State Warriors and the Chicago White Sox — will look to expand their brand in the U.S. even further with branding in the UFC Octagon as well as with athletes in the organization.

“Modelo is an amazing brand that shares UFC’s unmatched commitment to its fan base,” UFC President Dana White said in a statement. “I love Modelo and we’re already talking about doing a lot of exciting things together.”

Modelo will serve as the official beer sponsor of the UFC in the U.S. only, which will allow the promotion to find other sponsors for the events held internationally. Modelo is imported and marketed in the U.S. by Constellation Brands, which is the third largest beer company in the country behind Anheuser-Busch and Miller-Coors. 

When the UFC inked a multi-year deal with Anheuser-Busch back in 2008, it was a landmark moment for the promotion as they added a blue chip sponsor with huge name recognition of that size for the first time ever that helped the organization gain mainstream acceptance among major sports. 

Back in 2012, Anheuser-Busch actually threatened to pull it’s ad campaign with the UFC over sexist and homophobic comments made by several fighters just after re-upping on a new deal. 

Now that contract has come to an end as Modelo takes over as the UFC’s official beer sponsor starting in 2018 with activations already in the works for branding in arenas, in the Octagon and working alongside athletes competing for the promotion. 

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