Since 2007 Xyience has been the “official energy drink of the UFC.” This is a significant statement considering the growth of the promotion in its seven-year partnership. The energy drink who’s popularity is largely owed to publicity from the UFC has also sponsored individual fighters such as Matt Sera, Chuck Liddell, Mark Munoz, Dan Hardy and Ronda Rousey.
It was recently reported that as of last week the Las Vegas based Xyience company has been sold to Big Red, Inc. of Austin, Texas. Big Red is an established beverage company founded in 1937 and currently ranks as one of the top 10 beverage companies in North America.
As part of the deal with Big Red, Xyience will be taking a new approach in their marketing strategy. The zero-calorie energy drink will focus on a broader demographic of “healthy consumers” such as cross-fit athletes, Color Run events and marathons. Apparently the fighter image isn’t cutting it anymore for the company.
“I’m just gonna soften it up a little bit,” said Big Red CEO, Gary Smith. “Make it a little less hardcore than the image that it’s got today.”
Along with its association with combat athletes in the cage, Xyience is also the official energy drink sold at UFC Gyms across the nation, which markets to not only competitive athletes, but everyday gym-goers. The UFC will undoubtedly be in search of a replacement brand in the very near future. The $45 million in sales reported in the most recent IRS numbers for the May 2013-2014 period for the brand does not include sales from gyms or supplement stores.
Since the inception if its partnership there has been in depth controversy over the UFC’s actual relationship to the company, most of which stemmed from court filings regarding Xyience’s 2008 application for chapter 11 bankruptcy. These documents listed multiple individual shareholders (Zuffa CFO John Mulkey, and agent John Hertig) as well as company Bevanda Magica (UFC) and creditor “Zyen” which is a Fertitta Enterprises company. All of this led to questions regarding Zuffa’s interest in the case as a corporate insider.
Regardless of Zuffa, the Fertitta’s (UFC owners) or any of their subsidiary company’s involvement with Xyience, the deal is done and UFC fans and participants will now await a new energy drink to by which to be powered.