Move over, Stipe Miocic, it’s Brian Ortega’s time to shine.
Following in the former UFC heavyweight champion’s footsteps, Ortega will soon be featured in a campaign for the Modelo beer brand. His commercial debuted online Thursday and will hit television on March 11.
You can watch the 30-second spot below:
Centered around Modelo’s “Fighting Spirit” motto, Ortega found the partnership to be a good fit after sitting down with officials before his championship fight against Max Holloway last December and learning more about the company.
“This was something that we talked about before the actual fight,” Ortega told MMA Fighting. “It was something that we sat down and we had the chance to sit down and talk with them and share my story with them and I feel like once we really connected, we just talked about everything.
“To be honest, I didn’t realize Modelo’s thing was the ‘Fighting Spirit’. I was like, wait a minute, now I know why they’re with the UFC and they want to start talking to the guys.”
Since debuting with the UFC in July 2014, Ortega’s spirit has rarely been questioned. The 28-year-old featherweight has a propensity for late dramatics, at one point picking up four consecutive third-round finishes that included wins over fellow contender Renato Moicano and MMA lifer Clay Guida.
His bout with Holloway ended in defeat, the first of Ortega’s pro career, but even in that he was lauded for the amount of punishment he withstood through four rounds with the champion before a doctor called for the stoppage.
“As you can tell from all the fights, I don’t quit,” Ortega said. “There’s no quit in me and even in my defeat, the whole entire world saw that. There’s few fighters who are really willing to leave it all in there and never quit, no matter what. And my fighting spirit showed in that fight and the entire world saw it and respected it and appreciated it.”
With Ortega’s next bout still in the works, he appreciated getting to do a mock walkout and fight for the filming of the commercial. He joked that at one point it became difficult to separate fantasy from reality.
“It was fun,” Ortega said. “We woke up and we had an entire fight scene and the walkout, it was fun because usually when we have to do these things, we have to do it for real. It was fun to do it for fake and have the same type of hyped up energy. The way they set everything up was so amazing.
“When the song played out, you really felt like you were about to walk out to the crowd, almost to the point where when I finally went through the curtains and there was just the staff there I was like, ‘Damn, you mean I’m not fighting today?’ It felt real.”
Another aspect of the project that Ortega enjoyed was the inclusion of his coach James Luhrsen, who is featured prominently at the start of the commercial. Luhrsen’s star turn was greatly appreciated by Ortega, who credits him with building his fighting career from the ground up.
“It was Modelo’s idea,” Ortega said.” When you tell my story, he’s part of my story. So we have to show people how we came up and how we decided to really make this journey happen.
“It was just two of us who met and we had a dream and we started training in a garage. … That’s how this happened and throughout all the negatives and everyone said that we’d never make it, we made it.”