After the eyebrow-raising deal between Canopy Growth and homemaker icon Martha Stewart to produce CBD products for pets, another major licensed producer today created an unexpected matchup to take advantage of the CBD craze. 

This morning, Aurora Cannabis Inc. (NYSE: ACB; TSX: ACB) announced a partnership with U.S.-based mixed martial arts organization Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC).  

The focus of that partnership will revolve around clinical research for using hemp-derived CBD products to aid in athlete health, wellness, and recovery periods after injuries. 

While specific numbers haven’t been released yet, Aurora announced the multi-million dollar deal will involve research at the Performance Institute previously opened by UFC in Las Vegas, Nevada. That location already provides an array of services for athletes, and will now include research trials on utilizing CBD for pain management and mood improvement. 

Discussing the announcement today, UFC President Dana White commented on the multi-year deal with Aurora: 

Since we opened the Performance Institute, our primary goal was to offer UFC athletes the best possible training, nutrition, and recovery services. This partnership with Aurora is an extension of that goal, and we’re looking forward to collaborating to find new ways to improve the health and safety of athletes who compete in UFC.

On Aurora’s side, research through the partnership will fuel new product launches and CBD awareness campaigns globally through UFC’s 300 million strong fanbase. 

Cannabis producers such as Aurora have increasingly turned to hemp-based CBD products in recent months following a boom in popularity in both North America and internationally.  

CBD went from an obscure product to major industry in the U.S. practically overnight late last year after the passage of the U.S. Farm Bill legalized industrial hemp operations.  

Canadian licensed cannabis producers have jumped on the opportunity, using their existing infrastructure and cultivation knowledge to move into U.S. CBD operations. Earlier this month, The Green Organic Dutchman Holdings Ltd. (TSX:TGOD; US:TGODF) announced a strategic investment to form U.S.-based CBD beverage company Califormulations LLC. 

Green Growth Brands, Inc. (CSE: GGB; OTCQB: GGBXF) meanwhile has focused on skincare, beauty, and wellness CBD products by opening dozens of Seventh Sense Botanical shops across the U.S.