Move over, stoners and hippies.
There is a new bunch of dude’s promoting hemp and cannabis and they’re not following jam bands or growing their own kale.
They beat people to a pulp for a living.
Kickboxers and cage fighters.
It all started a couple of years ago.
In 2016 Nate Diaz infamously started vaping while answering reporters’ questions after a match. He said it was CBD. We don’t know for sure, but it was definitely something from the cannabis family of plants.
Anyway, that moment linked CBD/hemp/cannabis forever with MMA.
Two years later, the USADA removed CBD form their list of banned substances.
And since then several CBD brands have jumped in providing sponsorship dollars for the sport.
For example, Bellator MMA announced an exclusive, multi-year sponsorship agreement with cbdMD.
cbdMD is one of the biggest brands in the CBD space – making everything from tincture to capsules to CBD vape products.
More significantly, the UFC recently announced a massive partnership with Aurora – a giant Canadian cannabis producer.
This is more than some decals on the floor of the octagon.
It’s a long term study of the effects of hemp extract (CBD) on fighters’ stamina, recovery, and mental health. And the UFC is inviting all of its athletes to join in.
Arora is running these trials to develop CBD formulations designed specifically for fighters. The best of whom will undoubtedly become spokesmen.
Who would think a bloody, swollen face would be a good one to promote CBD?
Well, a lot of smart marketers and CBD manufacturers.
In fact, they like the idea so much that they are spending a lot of money on it.
And if you think about it, it makes so much sense. If anybody needs help with pain management, healing, inflammation, and stress, it’s athletes who give and take brutal beatings.
These guys are the strongest, fittest, toughest pros in the world.
And if they say something helps them compete at the highest level, and eases their pain and anxiety, people will listen – and get out their wallets.
The fanbase of MMA and boxing is a very good demographic – married males 35-55. It’s pretty easy to know what they like – beer, cars, steaks, online gambling.
Additionally – they are passionate. Their veneration of MMA stars borders on idolatry. (More than a few have a man crush on Conor McGregor.)
And they see themselves as guys who take action.
But – maybe even more importantly of all – this market is aging.
John AstrabMen in-and-around middle age are starting to have pains they never did before. Maybe they’re popping Advils (or something stronger) every four hours.
Perhaps their doctor wants them to take this or that pill – with the mile-long list of side effects. Or maybe they’re not jonesing for sex like they used to.
To this group – CBD could be the answer to nagging physical issues. It’s being used for pain, inflammation, anxiety, depression, high blood sugar – and on and on.
Every MMA fan has to have at least one of these problems.
MMA has always been an extreme sport – always on the edge. Now it has taken lead in a bold move to normalize the use of cannabis among elite athletes.
Let’s hope the other major sports are paying attention.
Article contributed by John Astrab