Selling out shows around the world doesn’t seem to be enough for the knighted rocker: he’s now sponsoring sumo matches.

If you watch the sport at all, you’re probably used to the circles of people who march around the ring before each bout, holding up banners with the names of sponsors—known as kenshō-kin—written on them. They’re almost always Japanese companies, but once in a while you’ll see a banner with the Golden Arches or Coke’s Dynamic Ribbon. This time, the ex-Beatle was among this group of sponsors, with banners advertising his new album titled, well . . . “NEW.”

As we know, Sir Paul, who rocked the house at the Tokyo Dome a couple of weeks ago, has been more than game to try practicing his Japanese. His love of Japanese culture also extends to the camellia-pomaded big fellas and according to his spokesman, he has been a fan for some time.

Apparently, his interest in sumo dates back to his solo tour of of the country back in 1993. And he knows his stuff: according to the spokesman, at a point during his tour this year “he took his crew to one of the matches . . . and was explaining to everyone the rules and the scoring and how it all worked.”

At the Kyushu Grand Sumo Tournament in Fukuoka last week, large groups of kensho-kin for the new album were paraded around the ring: with prices for banners set at ¥60,000 each, it was clear that Paul was putting up a fair amount of money. Given McCartney’s dedication to healthy living and vegetarianism, it does seem a bit odd that he would have such an affinity for these hearty eaters, but it’s great to see so much love dedicated to this traditional sport.

Image: Sebra /