In a statement on Saturday, UFC revealed that the partnership, which encompasses Asia and Australia, will begin on Saturday, November 4, during the promotion upcoming event, UFC 217: Bisping vs. St-Pierre at Madison Square Garden, New York.
UFC Vice President of Asia-Pacific Kevin Chang described the deal as an indication of how much UFC and the sport of mixed martial arts have grown in Asia and around the world.
“AirAsia is an innovative and fast-growing brand, we thank them for the support and we’re looking forward to creating engaging branded content for fight fans and AirAsia customers to enjoy,” he said.
Meanwhile, AirAsia Group CEO Tan Sri Tony Fernandes said UFC’s rapid rise as a global phenomenon parallels AirAsia’s growth.
“The UFC expanded from their first event in Denver to the rest of the US and then to Asia-Pacific and the world, while AirAsia grew from a small domestic airline into Asia’s largest low-cost carrier that now flies to the US.
“Opposite directions but chasing the same dream, and we are thrilled to team up with a brand that shares our drive and vision,” he said.
AirAsia will begin its international activations during UFC’s historic inaugural event in mainland China at UFC Fight Night: Silva vs. Gastelum on November 25 at Mercedes-Benz Arena in Shanghai.
As part of this collaboration, AirAsia will obtain rights to signage and branding inside UFC’s world-famous Octagon during the event in Shanghai and select international UFC events in 2018.
Through the partnership, AirAsia will also serve as presenting sponsor of select UFC Fan Experiences throughout the region and promote a national sweepstakes campaign where two fans will win a UFC VIP Experience during an event in 2018.
The airline brand will also be integrated across multiple UFC-based social and digital platforms, as well as having a presence during live-event broadcasts and on UFC.com. UFC and AirAsia will also jointly sponsor content featured on Weibo and WeChat platforms in China.
Along with integration during international UFC events, this sponsorship will also deliver exciting co-branded content to Asian fight fans via AirAsia and UFC’s media platforms. These initiatives include monthly training sessions featuring UFC athletes and members of the UFC Performance Institute’s staff.
UFC and AirAsia will also make history by selecting the first-ever UFC scholarship program recipient. As part of this program, one Asia-based athlete will be awarded an all-expenses paid scholarship that includes travel to the United States and training at the UFC Performance Institute in Las Vegas, Nevada.