When Kid Rock drew attention to Bud Light’s partnership with transgender social media influencer Dylan Mulvaney in, well, the most Kid Rock way possible, many right-leaning performers went out of their way to distance themselves from the beer company.
Rock may have led the way with his social media video showing him shooting up cases of Bud Light, but his disapproval of the Anheuser-Busch InBev (BUD) having a small digital-only deal with a transgender woman was not unique. Country stars Travis Tritt and John Rich, of the Big & Rich duo, quickly told anyone who would listen how they were dropping Bud Light and other Anheuser-Busch products from their tour riders and their bars.Not every country star took a stand against Bud Light trying to sell more beer to the LGBTQ+ audience Mulvaney reaches, but many did. Garth Brooks, of course, very notably stood up for inclusion by saying that his upcoming Nashville bar would both serve Bud Light and welcome all people.
Many country stars, of course, just stayed on the sidelines, making the smart choice to avoid losing fans by picking a political side. Bud Light, of course, suffered greatly for the company’s decision to partner with Mulvaney and has faced boycotts that have caused it to lose over a quarter of its sales.As this has all been happening, Anheuser-Busch has mostly focused on bringing the brand back to its roots. That has meant lots of social media posts about enjoying the weekend, ads starring football players, and throwing sponsorship dollars at sports leagues.
Bud Light’s latest deal, however, has the brand partnering with a right-wing icon who has not been shy about his feelings about transgender people.Bud Light makes a huge UFC sponsorship deal
Anheuser-Busch and TKO’s (TKO) UFC have reached a deal where Bud Light will become, as of Jan. 1, the “official beer partner of the UFC.That’s a move that UFC President Dana White seems awfully excited about.
“Anheuser-Busch and Bud Light were UFC’s original beer sponsors more than fifteen years ago. I’m proud to announce we are back in business together. There are many reasons why I chose to go with Anheuser-Busch and Bud Light, most importantly because I feel we are very aligned when it comes to our core values and what the UFC brand stands for,” he said.
White, who has publicly supported former President Donald Trump, and spoke for him at the 2016 Republican National Convention, has also been outspoken about transgender athletes.
The UFC boss, who has not been known for being politically correct, repeatedly called mixed martial arts (MMA) fighter Fallon Fox “he” in an interview with MMAJunkie.com. Fox is a transgender woman who competes at lower levels of the sport.
“So before you even think about fighting in the UFC or whatever – he was a man and now he’s a woman – he’s fighting girls who have losing records. Before you get too crazy about him being in the UFC, he’s so freaking far from being in the UFC that it’s not even funny,” he told the website.
White says it’s not about the money
While White was making a point about Fox’s MMA ability, he was also intentionally misgendering her.”When people are misgendered, they feel invalidated and unseen. When this happens daily, it becomes a burden that can negatively impact their mental health and their ability to function in the world,” Sabra L. Katz-Wise wrote for Harvard Medical School’s website.
But, while White seems to have issues with transgender people that go beyond sports-related issues, he clearly is willing to forgive Bud Light for its partnership with Mulvaney.
That’s something that has right-wing social media up in arms. Right-wing sports host Jason Whitlock sees it a different way.
“I don’t think Dana White and the UFC sold out. Bud Light did,” he shared on X, the former Twitter.
“I think he (White) took advantage of the opportunity we created and this is a good thing. We bullied Bud Light into taking its money, close to $150 million, and have them throw it behind the most masculine sport in America.”
White for his part, said that the move was not about the money.
“This unbelievable, powerful, American-built business, a lot of their core value align with mine,” White said in a clip from “The Charlie Kirk Show,” posted on X. The UFC president further elaborated on an appearance with Fox News’ Sean Hannity.
“When you do sponsorships, you definitely do sponsorships for the money, too. Money is definitely a part of it, but money was not the decision-making [factor],” White told Hannity.
“There are many other things that are important to me other than just the money. And the people that were all involved in this negotiation, on every side, absolutely, positively know that my choice was not determined by money,” he added.