Harley sponsors UFC
Milwaukee-based motorcycle producer and icon Harley-Davidson just expanded its cultural impact once again – this time by inking a long-term sponsorship deal with Zuffa entertainment’s UFC and WEC properties. According to postings on both ufc.tv and wec.tv, Dana White announced that “…we are proud to call it our exclusive UFC and WEC motorcycle sponsor and to have the historic Harley-Davidson Bar & Shield in the Octagon.”
Eagle-eyed fans may have noticed the iconic Harley shield in the octagon during UFC 79 - Nemesis back in December, signifying the commencement of the Harley/UFC partnership. Harley-Davidson Senior Vice President and Chief Marketing Officer Mark-Hans Richer stated that “this is the first major worldwide sports sponsorship for Harley-Davidson outside the motorcycle/automotive category,” a comment which confirms the incredible popularity of the sport and vindicates the increasing legitimacy of MMA – a sore spot for an industry that was not so long ago described as “human cockfighting” (but we’re not bitter).
Attention from such high profile companies as Harley bodes well for mixed martial arts, as a long-term sponsorship deal from an outside source will not only add income, but also hopefully attract outside fans that may not have otherwise given the sport a chance.
Independent Harley dealers have been encouraged by the company to hold UFC fight night parties and events. Fans may remember Gladiators Fighting 48 – Season’s Beatings was held at a local Milwaukee Harley dealership – no word yet on whether independent dealers will still host MMA events from other organizations.