UFC heavyweight titleholder Francis Ngannou has announced he will take half of his UFC 270 prize purse in Bitcoin (BTC) via Cash App.
The French-Cameroonian mixed martial arts fighter will take on the undefeated Ciryl Gane on Sunday and is set to earn a guaranteed $750,000. In a tweet on Jan. 18, Ngannou noted in a video message:
“After doing a lot of research on Bitcoin, I really believe it is the future of money, man. Bitcoin is valuable, secure, and no one can mess with it.”
The event will take place inside the 18,000+ capacity Honda Center in Anaheim, California. In what is the first defense of Ngannou’s title reign, the fight is an intriguing heavyweight clash in which both fighters will enter the arena fresh off their best performances to date, and the winner could very well be the new face of the heavyweight class for years to come.
Tickets are still up for grabs and the fight will be broadcast on ESPN and pay per view in the United States. Cash App is spending big on the fight, with another $300,000 giveaway for followers who post about the campaign on Twitter.
The Cash App marketing campaign has witnessed eminent personalities give away Bitcoin to their social media followers. Earlier in December, Hollywood actress Gwyneth Paltrow announced that she was giving away $500,000 in BTC to her Twitter and Instagram followers via a Cash App partnership.
Ngannou is also not the first professional MMA fighter to receive earnings in Bitcoin. In a Dec. 17 interview, Kevin Lee said the Russia-based Eagle Fighting Championship will pay him in BTC.
Billions of people watch sports, and crypto brands are leveraging the power of sports partnerships to target mainstream users.
In one of the biggest crypto sports partnerships in Australia, the Aussie Rules women’s division called the AFLW has just secured a $25-million deal with Crypto.com. Crypto.com also secured a $700-million deal in mid-November to rebrand the Staples Arena i Los Angeles to the Crypto.com Arena for 20 years.
The crypto company also signed hefty sponsorship deals with Formula 1 and the UFC as well in June and July, respectively.
Cash App has formed partnerships with several National Football League players, including Los Angeles Rams wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr. and Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers. The partnership will allow them to receive their salary in BTC.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers quarterback Tom Brady took an equity stake in FTX Trading and will receive crypto as part of the endorsement deal while acting as an ambassador for the crypto exchange. FTX also has deals with the Miami Heat and Major League Baseball.