UFC Joins Forces with the Air National Guard

  • Published
  • By Leslie Brown Air Force Recruiting Service Public Affairs
  • Air Force Recruiting Service

JOINT BASE SAN ANTONIO-RANDOLP, TX -- In what’s believed to be a first-of-its kind national-level partnership for the Air National Guard, the Ultimate Fighting Championship event in Las Vegas during the first weekend of July was a knockout.

The UFC, the world’s premier mixed martial arts organization, and the ANG announced the partnership during the kickoff of International Fight Week.

As an official partner of UFC, the Air National Guard was integrated into several key events, including an on-site activation, broadcast features on select Pay-Per-View matches and a branded presence inside UFC’s world-famous Octagon during select fight nights. Additionally, custom content will debut later this year featuring UFC fighter Forrest Griffin, the first Ultimate Fighting Champ.

“We are excited to see this partnership come to life. UFC competitors and their fans often embody the same unbreakable spirit of hard work, sacrifice, and a never-give-up attitude our Air National Guard members must possess,” said Lt. Col. Robert Fore, Air National Guard director for marketing at Air Force Recruiting Service.  “That is why we are excited to partner with the UFC family and spread the message of the great opportunities offered by the Air National Guard to serve your nation and community.” 

Fore knows that many UFC fans are the appropriate demographic for service within the Air National Guard and that’s why he and his team were excited to see it come to fruition this year.

Recruiters from all three air components; active Air Force, Air National Guard and Air Force Reserve, were on site to speak with prospective applicants and influencers. One of the recruiters specifically specialized in recruiting candidates for Air Force Special Warfare.

“Volunteering for total force events like this is very beneficial,” said Tech. Sgt. Tyler Stanley, an Air National Guard production recruiter based out of Salt Lake City, Utah.“I like the adventure and the networking opportunities, but I like to share the benefits of service in the Air National Guard with others. Everything I have today is because of my service in the Guard.”

Stanley said he was glad to be part of the event. Officials with UFC expressed enthusiasm about the partnership as well.

“It’s always an honor whenever we have the opportunity to partner with the organizations that serve and protect our country, like the Air National Guard,” said Paul Asencio, UFC Senior Vice President of Global Partnerships. “UFC athletes and the sport of mixed martial arts share many values in common with the men and women who serve our country, including discipline, determination, respect and self-sacrifice, and we are proud to have the Air National Guard join us an official partner.”

“We are thrilled to begin this partnership with UFC,” Fore said. “This partnership is ideal since Guardsmen and UFC athletes are both inspired by the same core values of integrity, service and excellence.”

The Air National Guard chose to unveil two new commercials that premiered at International Fight Week as well as on UFC’s YouTube channels. They are part of their “Serve Your Way” campaign that highlights the benefits of joining this unique military branch, which offers the flexibility of serving part time or full time, in the state a member calls home while performing the role of their choice. This individual way of wearing the uniform comes combined with a sense of purpose and pride of serving not only their country, but also their community.

“The partnership between the Air National Guard and the Ultimate Fighting Championship is groundbreaking in changing our recruiting paradigms,” said Col. Shaunte Cooper, Air National Guard advisor to the AFRS commander, “We are excited because this venture will allow the Air National Guard to reach a new audience and expand our reach with diverse audiences. The Air National Guard seeks to engage the best and the brightest talent throughout the country, and this partnership with the UFC will give us that opportunity.”

Another Air National production recruiter from Utah, Staff Sgt. Chris Adams, was happy to be part of the new partnership and UFC’s International Fight Week.

“Being able to share the benefits of joining the Air National Guard with UFC fans is important,” Adams said. “Events like this showcases the Air National Guard so people can see that we are the best kept secret when it comes to serving.”

For more information or to explore opportunities available in the Air National Guard, visit www.goang.com.