PETALING JAYA: The Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) has announced a partnership with AirAsia as its first "Official Airline" sponsor.
The partnership, which covers Asia and Australia, will begin this Saturday (Nov 4) in conjunction with the highly anticipated UFC 217 match between Canadian mixed martial artists Georges St-Pierre and Michael Bisping at Madison Square Garden, New York.
UFC Asia-Pacific president Kevin Chang said the latest deal with AirAsia showed how the sport had expanded across 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 in a statement issued Saturday.
AirAsia Group chief executive officer Tan Sri Tony Fernandes said that UFC's rapid rise as a global phenomenon parallels AirAsia's success.
"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 added.
As part of the collaboration, AirAsia will obtain rights to signage and branding inside UFC's "Octagon" during the event in Shanghai and selected international UFC events in 2018.
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.
AirAsia 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.
Both companies will also jointly sponsor content featured on Weibo and WeChat platforms in China, which will feature the monthly training sessions of athletes and members of the UFC Performance Institute's staff.
UFC and AirAsia will also make history by selecting the first-ever UFC scholarship programme recipient.
As part of this programme, 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.