The next time you eat your Wheaties, you might see a familiar face.
In a huge milestone for the sport of mixed martial arts, UFC lightweight champion Anthony Pettis will grace boxes of the well-known breakfast cereal, the UFC announced Wednesday. For decades, an athlete’s photo on a Wheaties box has been a measure of excellence, and Pettis will be the first representative of MMA and the UFC.
Pettis won the Wheaties NEXT Challenge, which asked fans to go online and log workouts to vote for stars from different sports. Pettis racked up more than 873,000 workouts over the past two months, beating out notables from motocross, soccer, lacrosse and others.
"We are thrilled to welcome Anthony Pettis to the Wheaties family and congratulate him and his fans on their remarkable effort and accomplishment," said David Oehler, marketing manager for Wheaties. “It has been inspiring to see communities across America get out and move this summer by supporting the athletes and the sports they love.”
Boxes with Pettis’ likeness will begin appearing in supermarkets and other stores in 2015. But you can see Pettis before that — every week beginning next Wednesday. Pettis will be coaching against Gilbert Melendez on "The Ultimate Fighter," airing on FOX Sports 1 starting Sept. 10. The "TUF" tournament will crown the first women’s strawweight champion.
Then, Pettis, 27, will defend his lightweight title against Melendez at UFC 181 on Dec. 6 in Las Vegas. It will be a busy few months for the champ, who has been out for more than a year because of a knee injury. Being out of action hasn’t hurt his brand, though — Pettis is as popular as ever and has the Wheaties and Reebok sponsorships to prove it.