Tyson Pedro has revealed the truth behind the viral ad featuring himself, UFC heavyweight Tai Tuivasa, Penrith halfback Nathan Cleary and Australian Idol favourite Shannon Noll – and yes, the Panthers star really is that bad a singer.
The video, which has had over a million views across various social media channels, features an acapella rendition of “What About Me”, complete with a rag-tag backing choir made up of those who had responded to a post promising free beer and brisket.
And while Cleary is arguably the best rugby league player in the world, it seems his talents don’t extend to his singing voice.
“Terrible. The worst,” Pedro told The Sporting News when asked about the NRL gun’s vocal performance, before commending his attitude.
“I was actually so impressed. He knew how bad he was and he still went in there and had a crack.
“Most people would be like, ‘Nah, I’m not doing it.’ Good on him for getting in there and still doing it. And it made the video 10 times funnier, so I’m happy with that.”
The ad’s primary purpose was drumming up investment in Drink West – the beer company started by Tuivasa and Pedro to represent their beloved western Sydney.
With the goal of opening their own brewery in company heartland, the brains behind Drink West came up with the idea and it’s proved a resounding success.
“If there’s one thing Tai is good at, he’s a marketing genius,” Pedro said.
“He saw a video on YouTube and he said, ‘Let’s do “What About Me”.’ Genius idea because it killed it.”
Pedro revealed, thanks to the response to the video, the plans to open the brewery later in 2022 were now in place.
“I dunno if I can release it yet, but it worked,” he said.
“It’s all going ahead. It’s blown up since that, so it’s all going to plan.”
Pedro said the only hiccups were getting through a take without laughing at Cleary.
“Honestly, it wasn’t as many [takes] as I thought it would be. I thought it was going to be way worse,” he said.
“At the beginning, we couldn’t stop laughing when Nathan Cleary was coming in.
“There was probably six or seven solid ones where everyone was getting frustrated because we didn’t even get past Nathan’s part.
“It was a really fun day to be honest. It was just an all round good day with good people and it captured what Drink West is all about.”
So while Pedro may be finding success away from sport, it’s been a rollercoaster ride on the competition front for the UFC light heavyweight.
He returns to the octagon for the first time in over three years this weekend.
Pedro, still just 30, tore his ACL in a loss to MMA legend Mauricio ‘Shogun’ Rua in December 2018, kicking off a nightmare run with injury which had him questioning his future in the fight game.
After multiple setbacks and surgeries, Pedro is due to face Ike Villanueva in Las Vegas this Sunday (Saturday in the US).
Having started his UFC career with impressive wins over Khalil Rountree and Paul Craig, Pedro lost three of his next four, including the fight with Rua.
He’s since watched on as great mate Tuivasa turned his career around, going on a five-fight knockout streak to leave him ranked third in the heavyweight division.
Ahead of his long-awaited return, Pedro believes he’s been able to level up despite not having any time in the cage.
“I’m definitely not nervous,” he said.
“I live for this sh*t. I love fighting. I’m supposed to be here.
“My mentality has changed. I’ve got a higher fight IQ. I’m bigger, stronger.
“I’ve learned so much during this time, about me, about fighting. I expect it’s a different Tyson.”
Pedro believes he’s learned to appreciate the process of a fight, rather than the result.
“That’s one thing I learned as well, to not think about the outcome because that’s when you start stressing,” he said.
“You forget everything you have to do in the fight when you only think about winning, my only thoughts are on having a perfect performance and the win comes from that.”
In Villanueva, Pedro has been given a handy match-up – the 38-year-old American has just one win in his last five bouts.
“He’s a big puncher. He’s come from heavyweight. He’s got knockout power for sure,” Pedro said.
“Tactically and strategically it’s a good fight for me. As long as I stay disciplined and stick to the plan, it’s only up from here.”