Who Sponsors GSP?

Great brands forge unique identities. If you buy that, then Georges St. Pierre, reigning UFC welterweight champion, is a branding black belt, kicking his world of mixed martial arts into mainstream sponsorship with brutal elegance.

Part Spartan warrior, part Quebecois gentleman, St. Pierre’s crossover appeal has forced iconic brands Gatorade and Under Armour to overlook MMA’s bloody reputation. St. Pierre, or RUSH, or GSP, now stands beside Peyton Manning and Derek Jeter – big contracts on, and off the field.Flashing a choirboy grin and measured English, GSP has cleaned out his weight division with grit and athleticism, while ducking the trash talk and bravado endemic to the sport. Creative Arts Agency, home to both Brad Pitt and George Clooney, took notice.CAA signed St. Pierre in 2008 and immediately pushed him to new MMA heights. In 2009, Gatorade made GSP their first MMA client. Added to Gatorade Canada’s roster, GSP stars on the G Series campaign.
Gatorade renewed the original, one-year contract based on Georges’ reception. He’s Canada’s favorite son and two-time Canadian Athlete of the Year.Under Armour followed, signing St. Pierre to a multi-year package, making him the “face of Under Armour’s underwear.” UA’s multi-media platform tapped U.S. retailers: a cardboard Georges, menacing in his boxer briefs, looking for a fight.

In February 2010, GQ magazine featured St. Pierre sporting his signature line of Affliction MMA gear. Affliction and Georges have been long-term partners, only jaded by UFC President Dana White’s 2008 decision to ban Affliction from UFC events. The breakup lasted a year. During Affliction’s estrangement, George wore the hardcore MMA brand, Silver Star.

OK, St. Pierre has grabbed some low-hanging fruit. His RUSHFIT and RIP:60 home fitness programs do scream infomercial. But, he’s also testing vertical markets, partnering with New York’s Mission Skincare. Got anything for scar tissue and cauliflower ear?

Tattoo needles don’t write endorsement checks, and most fighters slap glorified bumper stickers from fringe sponsors on their trunks to supplement a battle-to-battle paycheck. GSP, with his silk suits and warrior spirit, is changing all that.

Posted in Mixed Martial Arts