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UFC to capitalize on cryptocurrency boom with new partnerships and ‘fan tokens’

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The promotion has partnered with Chiliz to launch “$UFC Fan Tokens” on Socios.com.

Bitcoin Photo Illustrations Photo Illustration by Jakub Porzycki/NurPhoto via Getty Images

The UFC continues to dip its toes into the booming cryptocurrency market.

The MMA organization has partnered with Chiliz, a leading digital currency and blockchain provider for sports and entertainment industries, and announced plans to launch a $UFC Fan Token fan engagement & rewards platform Socios.com. The UFC would be the latest of 26 major sports properties to partner with Chiliz, including European football giants FC Barcelona, Paris Saint-Germain, AC Milan, and Manchester City.

“We are continually looking for ways to increase engagement with our fans,” said Tracey Bleczinski, Senior Vice President, UFC Global Consumer Products. “UFC has more than 625 million fans around the world, and Fan Tokens are a unique way to connect with them through a compelling, authentic product that brings them closer to UFC and gives them influence, while also rewarding their passion for the sport.”

The fan tokens will be minted on the Chiliz blockchain and those who purchase them will be provided exclusive content on Socios.com, including fan voting, VIP rewards, exclusive promotions, AR-enabled features, chat forums, games and competitions. However, exact details as to how UFC fans will benefit from investing in the tokens remains unclear but they are scheduled for launch on Socios.com in June and will have a maximum lifetime supply of 20 million.

Given that cryptocurrencies have been integrated into almost all industries in the world, and have been known to generate exceptional profit during economic booms through the likes of non-fungible tokens (NFTs), it comes as little surprise that the UFC is keen to reap some of the crypto market’s rewards.

Last month, the UFC reportedly filed several new trademark applications indicating plans to launch a UFC-branded cryptocurrency, as well as an app for users to manage NFTs and other digital assets. The organization partnered with Dapper Labs, a blockchain game company best known as the creators of CryptoKitties and the company behind NBA Top Shots NFT marketplace. Given the success of Top Shots, which has seen more than $230m in revenue since October 2020, the UFC made plans to launch its own NFT marketplace this summer.

It is worth noting that Top Shots takes a 5% transaction fee on sales in their marketplace, which is then shared between the company, the NBA, and the NBA’s players association. However, since UFC fighters do not have a fighter’s association to collectively bargain for them, and do not own their own likeness, it is highly unlikely that fighters will be paid a percentage of the UFC’s NFT profits.