With recent sponsorship of Bellator fighters Rory MacDonald and Chael Sonnen, the Dash network has made an impressive mark on the world of MMA.

Rory MacDonald is one of the world’s highest ranking MMA fighters, holding a 20-4 record following his victory over Douglas Lima for the Bellator welterweight title. He holds wins over UFC fighters including Demian Maia, Nate Diaz, BJ Penn, and welterweight champion Tyron Woodley.

MacDonald submitted a proposal to the Dash treasury for funding of a $250,000 sponsorship, which passed with ease: 899 Yes to 233 No.

MacDonald represented his sponsor in full Dash apparel during his championship victory earlier this year. Vocal about his interest in cryptocurrency and its virtues, MacDonald has been active in the industry since 2014 after being introduced by his coach, Firas Zahabi. MacDonald said in a report for Dash Force News:

In 2014 I was introduced to Bitcoin from my coach Firas Zahabi the week I was fighting Tyron Woodley. Since then we have stayed interested in the cryptocurrency space, and it so happened that Dash’s Jeff Smith and Firas had connected over doing a project together with Dash. Since then Firas connected me and Jeff. Everything came together very organically as we worked on a proposal for my next fight sponsored by Dash. The community really rallied behind the idea and I believe this is just the start of the Dash takeover into the MMA community for cryptocurrencies.

According to Dash Force News, Zahabi has utilized cryptocurrency to overcome certain regulatory issues and launched a giveaway last year of $10,000 worth of Dash “to whomever could most accurately guess the exact outcome and time” of the momentous fight held between Conor McGregor and Floyd Mayweather.

MacDonald sees these sponsorships as just the beginning of long-term partnerships with the cryptocurrency community. He told CCN that “the exciting thing about the Dash budget system is that it’s a voting process, so we can make all kinds of different, unique ideas to pitch to the network…It could be the next wave of sponsorships pouring into the MMA community.”

Bellator has publicly noted its interest in cryptocurrency and Dash to fuel sponsorships, with Bellator CEO Scott Coker saying:

Cryptocurrency has definitely gotten people’s attention as of late and we’re thrilled to see Dash enter the MMA space with their sponsorship of Bellator welterweight Rory MacDonald. Exploring new categories and opportunities for integration has always been key to the growth and development of sports partnerships. We’re always open to new and exciting ideas, and cryptocurrency is something that we’d be interested in exploring to see if it was potentially the right fit for Bellator.

Fellow mixed martial artist Chael Sonnen also put forward a proposal to the Dash Masternode network worth 325 Dash ($162,023 USD). He proposed continuing to expand the Dash brand throughout the MMA community with his event connections and social media following.

The Dash sponsorship of Sonnen also easily passed, with 681 Yes to 156 No.

Sonnen has been an MMA fighter since the age of 19 and has fought in five different fighting leagues including the UFC. He’s faced off against the likes of Jon Jones, Rampage Jackson, Wanderlei Silva, Tito Ortiz, Rashad Evans, Mauricio Rua, Anderson Silva, and Micahel Bisping. Sonnen is also contributor on ESPN and has appeared on The Jim Rome Show as well as Joe Rogan’s popular podcast. Sonnen bears a massive social media following, where he has more than 800,000 Twitter followers, over 381,000 Facebook followers and millions of views on Youtube.

Cryptocurrencies like Dash disrupt the conventional athletic sponsorship structure by allowing individuals to work directly with the source of their funding (Dash). Dash’s large treasury and Masternode voting platform make unique crypto marketing opportunities and sponsorships possible. Dash’s blockchain technology is set up to produce new coins every month, where 10% of those goes towards the treasury. Currently, the budget is around 6177 Dash, or about $2.7 million USD. This allows for the Dash investment ecosystem to build its brand in creative ways across a multitude of industries.

Editor’s note: Dash Digital Cash is the exclusive sponsor of Reality Check and the Truth in Media project.

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