Mixed martial arts draws in some interesting fans, like comedian and actor Hannibal Buress. Buress took his love of fighting to the next level last year when he decided to get into the sponsorship game.
His first go at it? Paying to have his face plastered all over Brazilian atomweight Janaisa Morandin’s tights. More recently, he bought up prime real estate inside the Invicta FC cage itself. He explained the process on his recent appearance on Late Night with Seth Meyers.
”I went to this fight and I saw all these people with banners and they had their names on the fighter banners,” Buress said. “And they weren’t that exciting, they would be like Toyota dealerships. A Kansas City Toyota dealership is sponsoring a fighter, I can definitely sponsor a fighter. So I reached out to this fighter and asked if I could sponsor her and if I could put my face and website on her outfit and they were like ‘Yeah!’”
”She didn’t fight because they have to cut weight for the fight, so she missed weight by a little bit,” he continued (Morandin missed weight by 5 pounds, and her fight was called off). “It’s a tough process cutting weight so unfortunately she wasn’t able to make it. But that was tough for me and so I didn’t want to have that happen again. I didn’t lose the money, but I lost that outfit. I was like ‘Can you send that outfit back’ and they were like ‘Naaaaah.’”
”So this second time, I waited about a year. I said ‘I don’t want that to happen again.’ I learned from my mistake. So I said ‘I’m going to escalate.’ So I hit up the promotion – Invicta Fighting Championships is the name – and I asked if I could just sponsor the whole thing and put my face on the mat. That way, no matter what happens, I’ll be on there.”
And that’s why Hannibal’s face was plastered all over the canvas and cage at Invicta FC 28 in March.
”I just did it for fun, it was just really exciting to watch,” he said with a laugh. “No return on investment, it was purely for the love of the game. I’m happy about it.”
So are we, Hannibal. So are we.