Undefeated MMA fighter Josh Silveira has agreed to a cryptocurrency sponsorship for his upcoming match for the LFA World Lightweight Title
The announcement follows a recent major sponsorship deal between Crypto.com and UFC, the world's most well-known MMA organization
Crypto endorsements between sports leagues and individual athletes are rising with each passing month
For some time now, cryptocurrencies have made steady strides toward mainstream adoption and acceptance. A big part of that includes well-established organizations and individuals forging partnership deals with crypto firms. Nowhere has that been more frequent than in the world of sports.
In recent months alone, there’s been a flurry of marketing agreements and other sponsorships. Hong Kong-based exchange Crypto.com became the sponsor of the final round of the Coppa Italia soccer tournament. They’ve also partnered with the Aston Martin Cognizant Formula One racing team. One of their main rivals, FTX.com, made multiple sponsorship deals totaling over $360 million – including purchasing the naming rights to the Miami Heat’s home arena.
But now, athletes themselves are starting to get in on the act. And this month, MMA outfit LFA announced its next light-heavyweight world title fight featuring two undefeated fighters – Josh Silveira versus Tee Cummins at LFA 115 on Friday, September 24th at the Menominee Nation Arena in Oshkosh, Wisconsin. For the match, Silveira will be sponsored in cryptocurrencies, which is a major development for the sport.
The Details of the Event
According to LFA’s announcement, the initial match scheduled for LFA 115 was to be between Silveira and Jesse Murray, but an injury forced a change to the bout. They stated that “We are excited to bring the light-heavyweight championship to Wisconsin next month,” and that “Josh Silveira is the top 205-pound prospect in the sport. He was originally set to face Murray for the LFA light-heavyweight title in the main event of LFA 110 on July 2nd, but Murray withdrew with an injury. Murray has now withdrawn from the re-scheduled title fight, so Silveira will be facing a new opponent for the title on September 24th.”
Subsequently, the promotion announced that another undefeated fighter – Tee Cummins – would take Murray’s place in the ring for the match at the event. The highly-anticipated match represents a chance for each fighter to secure a place in the MMA spotlight, and now that Silveira has agreed to his crypto sponsorship deal the event will also shine light on the rapidly growing DeFi industry. It will be a first at this level of the sport, showing off the deepening ties between the crypto industry and MMA as a hole.
Crypto Ties With MMA Growing
Although direct MMA athlete sponsorships by crypto firms are still rare, this is by no means the first connection between the industry and the sport. In fact, the aforementioned Crypto.com recently became the largest single sponsor of the Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC). They’ve inked a ten-year deal worth a staggering $175 million, cementing a partnership that seems to be only beginning.
The agreement – called a fight kit sponsorship – calls for Crypto.com to receive a brand presence on branded apparel worn by athletes and training staff at UFC events. And on top of that, the crypto firm will also claim the title of the UFC’s first “Cryptocurrency Platform Partner”. It’s a brand new designation created expressly for the purposes of the agreement.
Crypto Athlete Deals On the Rise
The announcement of Josh Silveira’s cryptocurrency sponsorship is the latest in a string of high-profile athletes making similar deals. Just last month, former FC Barcelona star Lionel Messi signed a new contract with rival club Paris St Germain that included a partial payment of its signing bonus in the form of the club’s fan token – a first in the sport.
And he’s hardly alone. In December of 2020, NFL offensive tackle Russell Okung reached a contract agreement with the Carolina Panthers that called for half of his $13 million in salary to be paid in Bitcoin. Similarly, Giants running back Saquon Barkley recently announced that he would be receiving all future endorsement deal money in the form of Bitcoin. The arrangement comes via a deal worked out with crypto payment processor Strike, which will convert his earnings as they come in – believed to be in the eight-plus figures range each year.
A Profitable Match
It’s apparent that the cryptocurrency industry is making steady inroads into the world of sports, and into MMA in particular. For the announcement of the UFC sponsorship deal to be followed so closely by a high-profile fighter like Josh Silveira landing a crypto fight sponsorship indicates as much. But odds are good that what we’re witnessing is just the tip of the iceberg of what’s to come.
Given how many athletes and sports leagues seem eager to get involved in the cryptocurrency revolution, there’s a good chance that there are about to be many similar sponsorship announcements to come. But for now, crypto enthusiasts and fight fans can check out this unique MMA event to see Josh Silveira get in the ring to earn both respect – and Bitcoin – as he looks to walk away with the LFA World Lightweight title later this month.