A year of successful brand activations and industry recognition lead to the renewal of UFC and AirAsia’s partnership

MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA – UFC, the world’s premier Mixed Martial Arts (MMA) organization, and AirAsia, the world’s leading low-cost carrier and Official Airline partner of UFC, today announced the continuation of their partnership. The extension comes after a hugely successful year for AirAsia, culminating in industry recognition as it picked up the SPIA bronze award for Best Sponsorship.

(2nd from left) UFC President Dana White and AirAsia Group Head of Branding Rudy Khaw flanked by AirAsia Cabin Crew
(2nd from left) UFC President Dana White and AirAsia Group Head of Branding Rudy Khaw flanked by AirAsia Cabin Crew

Through the integrated partnership, UFC and AirAsia worked together to develop and discover new MMA talent in the Asia-Pacific region and create original content for MMA fans. These innovative activations included the launch of the first-ever UFC Scholarship Program, which gave One Pride women’s strawweight champion Linda Darrow the opportunity to hone her skills at the UFC Performance Institute in Las Vegas. Australian UFC athlete Jim Crute also benefitted from the partnership that facilitated his entry on “Dana White’s Tuesday Night Contender Series”, as his win earned him a sought-after contract with UFC. Fresh from his first win at UFC Fight Night: Dos Santos vs. Tuivasa in Adelaide, Australia last December, the undefeated light heavyweight’s stock is surging, and he is now scheduled to face Sam Alvey in the main card of UFC 234: Whittaker vs. Gastelum in Melbourne on Saturday, February 9.

“We would like to thank Tony Fernandes and the whole AirAsia team for their continued support, and we are very proud of the strong partnership we have built together,” said UFC Senior Vice President of Global Partnerships, Paul Asencio. “Our hard work is paying off as we see the impact of the exciting content we are generating and the new opportunities we are creating for travelers, fans, UFC athletes, and for budding MMA athletes like Darrow and Crute.”

Recognising the rising star power of UFC athletes, AirAsia has started working with athletes, such as Australian number 11-ranked UFC heavyweight Tai Tuivasa “BamBam”, to extend their messaging to d reach a broader audience.

“I am proud to partner with AirAsia, and be involved with a company that gives people the chance to dream and travel the world. With AirAsia, anything is possible” said Tai Tuivasa, UFC heavyweight.

The partnership gave AirAsia access to UFC’s premier Pay-Per-View events such as UFC 229: Khabib vs. Mcgregor, where the airline’s red corner takeover in the Octagon offered a unique branding opportunity to reach millions.

The partnership delivered one of the highlights of the year for the UFC brand and AirAsia, as together they created the first-ever UFC branded livery on an AirAsia Airbus A330-300. This year, co-branded UFC AirAsia merchandise will be available on AirAsia flights starting with model airplanes of the UFC branded aircraft.

AirAsia Group Head of Branding Rudy Khaw said, “We are extremely proud to extend our partnership with UFC for another year, especially as they continue to grow their presence in our home market, Asia Pacific. Last year delivered a knockout year - including the AirAsia red corner at the Octagon for UFC 229: Khabib vs. McGregor, and the unveiling of our UFC branded Airbus A330-300, which has now carried almost 150,000 guests to more than 20 destinations in our long-haul network. Importantly, as an airline that’s passionate about providing people with opportunities, we’re excited to continue our work to discover and nurture new MMA talent across the region.”

More innovative campaigns and activations are planned for 2019, as AirAsia is in prime position to harness the opportunities that the UFC brand, sport and global fan-base presents to advertisers and partners around the world.