The UFC has made another significant step in their long-term CBD plans, signing a major sponsorship deal. In March 2021, the UFC reached a global sponsorship deal with Love Hemp that is set to last for five years. While the exact worth of this deal has not been disclosed yet, it is believed to be a multi-million dollar agreement.
Love Hemp is a hemp and CBD product supplier based in the U.K.. This agreement involves Love Hemp branding appearing in the UFC’s online assets and programming, as well as integration with the UFC Performance Institute. This represents a big stepping stone in the UFC’s plans to include greater CBD awareness among its fighters, to help promote greater health and recovery from injuries. Two years ago, the UFC formed a partnership with Aurora Cannabis to research the benefits of CBD for athletic performance and recovery.
What Is CBD?
CBD, or cannabidiol, is a natural chemical compound that is extracted from cannabis plants, such as hemp or marijuana according to this ultimate guide to CBD. Despite its association with cannabis, CBD by itself contains no psychoactive properties, so it does not make you feel high after consuming it. CBD is able to interact with parts of our brains and nervous system, specifically the endocannabinoid system (ECS). The ECS regulates several different elements of our bodies and health, including pain, sleep, anxiety, and more. It has powerful anti-inflammatory properties, and also comes loaded with antioxidants and omega fatty acids.
It is relatively new as far as popular awareness is concerned. Research and clinical studies have found that it is able to relieve pain and inflammation, reduce stress and anxiety, improve sleep quality, and help treat a variety of more serious health issues such as epilepsy, Parkinson’s, and potentially even some kinds of cancer. However, there has yet to be any full large-scale clinical trials regarding CBD, and there is still more to learn.
Why Are Athletes and Organizations So Interested in CBD?
The ability of CBD to reduce pain and inflammation, as well as improve mental health and sleep quality, are the main reasons why professional athletes as well as sports organizations around the world are investing in CBD companies and products. It is a natural chemical, and has very few and minor side effects. This makes it a potentially viable treatment option for athletes who are recovering from injuries, as opposed to more addictive opioid painkillers.
This is why we’re seeing an increasing number of major athletes who use CBD. There are also many current and former athletes who advocate for its use, invest in CBD companies, or even launch their own. In the UFC, for example, Nick and Nate Diaz have already launched Game Up Nutrition, a retailer for CBD oil, hemp flower, and more.
The new sponsorship deal between the UFC and Love Hemp is a major step for the CBD industry in major professional sports. As more athletes learn about it, we are seeing a growing number of new companies being launched, and more investment deals being made. It won’t be long before other major sports organizations like the NFL, NBA and MLB form their own sponsorships.