The Growing USMC-UFC Partnership

February 8, 2010

Amy McCullough of the Marine Corps Times writes about the growing relationship between the UFC and USMC on the sponsorship level, and how the two organizations share a similar target demographic in young people aged 17-24.

MARINE CORPS BASE QUANTICO, Va. — The Marine Corps has formed a formal partnership with the Ultimate Fighting Championship that promotes more interaction between Marines and famed mixed martial arts fighters, and calls for a series of new recruiting advertisements that emphasize similarities between the two organizations.


The goal, Marine officials say, is to engage the UFC’s rapidly growing fan base of 17- to 24-year-olds by highlighting the Marine Corps Martial Arts Program and the parallel “sense of shared brotherhood” exhibited by Marines and pro fighters alike.


“The ideologies behind UFC and the Marine Corps now are very similar in a lot of ways — not just in the fighting techniques and mixed martial arts aspect, but … we both share that warrior ethos,” said Gunnery Sgt. Pauline Franklin, a spokeswoman at Marine Corps Recruiting Command. Pro fighters, she added, “are very intense people who like to push their limits, and they focus hard on training and believe in commitment, honor and courage.”

Below is the latest advertisement which attempts to highlight the similarities between the USMC and UFC

Payout Perspective: has long advocated a greater degree of integration between the UFC and its sponsors, and the USMC clearly understands how to activate upon its sponsorship of the UFC. The more a sponsor can associate its own brand with the personalities and other artifacts of the UFC culture, the more successful it will be in attracting the attention of the UFC demographic.

It’s simply not enough to throw up a Bud Light advertisement, for example, during a TUF commercial break. A-B Inbev has to leverage that UFC theme in order to reach the UFC customer. Now, of course, there’s a question of funding – commercials and customized activation strategies are expensive – but that brings us back to the topic of current trends in sponsorship; being prepared not just to invest in a sponsorship, but also in the activation and evaluation of that sponsorship.


The USMC article points out that this relationship wouldn’t have happened even just a few years ago, which is clearly a sign of the times right now. It’ll be interesting to see whether those that oppose MMA and yet support the war, will condone the USMC essentially using the UFC to recruit young people.

4 Responses to “The Growing USMC-UFC Partnership”

  1. JJ on February 8th, 2010 11:07 AM

    I guess this is slightly better than having the marines go to poor schools offering candy to kids to join the military.

  2. Brain Smasher on February 8th, 2010 1:09 PM

    A lot of people from poor schools would probably be better off joining the military. I had two friends who come out of high school with no direction in life. Both from broken families and one was sure to end up in prision. Both are now living happy meaningful lives with families and a future with gainful employment. The military isnt for everyone including myself. But some people of that “poor school” demo would be very wise to try the military rather than a life on the street with drugs and crime.

  3. Bill P on February 8th, 2010 8:43 PM

    Both the Marines and the UFC teach responsibility, integrity, and teamwork (the fighter is nothing without the trainers) to name just a few positive characteristics that come from the warriors in the military and in the octagon.
    As an educator with well more than 45 years in the classroom (high school and college), I can tell you so-called higher education isn’t for everyone. The timing has to be right, and those leaving high school, entering the military, and then choosing to return to school are much better prepared for the rigors of the classroom than their counterpart who lacks direction.
    I’m glad to see the link between the Marines and the UFC! Our country needs more of that focus on personal responsibility!

  4. Andy Chavez on February 9th, 2010 5:58 PM

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