SBJ/February 28 - March 6, 2005/Marketingsponsorship

Energy drink throws down with warriors

Mixed martial arts champions Randy “The Natural” Couture and Quinton “Rampage” Jackson have signed a two-year deal to endorse Rockstar Energy Drink, the first mainstream sponsorship deal for the emerging sport.

Sources said the deal is valued in the mid-six figures.

Mixed martial arts features athletes from different combative sports — wrestling, karate, judo and kick boxing — fighting in one ring and under the same rules.

Jeremy Lappen, partner of Quattro Media, a Los Angeles sports and entertainment management and production company, negotiated the deal for Couture and Jackson.

“This is the first mainstream sponsor that has come into the sport to represent athletes,” Lappen said. “I think it’s a sign of where the sport is going. It is becoming more and more mainstream and larger everyday.”

Jason May, Rockstar executive vice president of marketing, said in a statement: “This is an exciting field with huge international popularity that’s now gaining greater traction in the U.S. … We feel the sport has the potential to become the new boxing.”

Couture is the light heavyweight champion of the Ultimate Fighting Championship league, which is seen on pay-per-view and Fox Sports and is the subject of a reality series on Spike TV.

Jackson fights for the Pride Fighting Championships league, which is seen on Prime Time Network television in Japan and on pay-per-view in the United States.

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