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Xyience Sold to Big Red, Will No Longer Be an Official UFC Sponsor

(“This is Xyience 101″…holy crap, that is still hilarious to me.)

Xyience — the sports nutrition and energy drink company that has been a prominent sponsor of the UFC since 2006 — has been sold to beverage company Big Red Ltd., according to MMAPayout. Though Big Red will continue to seek out the sports demographic for advertising Xyience and its energy drink brand Xenergy, the company has decided to end Xyience’s sponsorship of the UFC.

In an interview with BevNet, Big Red CEO Gary Smith explained that the decision was made as part of a new strategy that will see Xyience target a broader range of health-conscious consumers, like Crossfitters and marathoners. “I’m just gonna soften it up a little bit,” Smith said. “Make it a little less hardcore than the image that it’s got today.”

I’m no marketing genius, but let me explain something, Gary: This guy buys energy drinks; this guy does not. These guys buy energy drinks; these women do not. I’m tellin’ you bro, throw all your advertising dollars at meatheads and gay club kids.

According to BevNet, Xyience is by far the largest brand that Big Red has acquired, with approximately $45 million in annual sales, not incuding “vendors like gymnasiums and GNC- and Vitamin Shoppe-type stores, where it has claimed robust growth.”

The brand also carries some unfortunate baggage. Launched in 2004 by a white-collar criminal named Russell Pike — who had previously been convicted on felony charges ranging from bank fraud to money laundering — Xyience Inc. filed for bankruptcy following an ugly dispute in 2008, and its assets were quietly taken over by a Zuffa offshoot called Zyen, LLC.

In December 2009, the liquidating trustee for Xyience in bankruptcy proceedings filed a complaint against Zyen LLC and Fertitta Enterprises, claiming that Zuffa and its owners intentionally and fraudulently bankrupted Xyience Inc. in order to grab its assets and screw creditors out of the money that was owed to them. The case was eventually settled in 2012: “For hundreds of burned shareholders, this motion kills their hopes of any significant recovery.” According to this Las Vegas Review-Journal article, a “Fertitta entity” paid $525,000 to settle the claims.

Short version: Criminal launches energy-drink brand, UFC brass wrenches it away from him through nefarious means and eventually sells it to a soft drink company.

So long, Xyience  — you’ve been a great punchline. The announcement that NOS is the new “official energy drink of the UFC” should be right around the corner.

(Chuck Liddell and Ben Rothwell, rockin’ their Xyience shirts during the company’s glory days.)

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