Mixed Martial Art’s (MMA) biggest promotion the Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) recenlty banned all guns, knives, ammunition and hunting companies from sponsoring any of their events.
The ban stems from the UFC’s new seven-year deal with the FOX network which will give the UFC more mainstream exposure on FOX’s various channels. When the MMA blog CagePotato.com asked UFC president Dana White about the ban via Twitter he responsed with “hell no I have guns. Idk why? Haven’t heard that we stopped”. You’d think the president of the company would know such things?
Fighters in the UFC have had a good amount of firearms and hunting related sponsors over the years. Some of their biggest stars, former heavyweight champ Brock Lesnar and former welterweight champ Matt Hughes (who was at SHOT Show 2012 by the way) are avid hunters and are sponsored by a few firearms and hunting companies.
If the UFC wants to move into the mainstream with the likes of the NBA and the NFL it’s going to have to make its image more “family friendly” and accessible to the masses I suppose, as if two fighters trying to knock out or submit the other fighter will help that. It’s just unfortunate that this has to happen at the expense of the livelihood of the fighters in the UFC who will be missing out on potential sponsorship contracts. As I said above, stars like Hughes and Lesnar have lucrative sponsorship deals with various firearms companies. There are various other UFC fighters who are sponsored by gun related companies too, The Gun Store in Las Vegas alone sponsors many UFC fighters who rely mostly on sponsorship deals to pay the bills. This won’t only take a toll on UFC fighters however, the sponsors themselves will feel the pinch with this new ban. Millions of people watch UFC events worldwide and sponsoring a UFC fighter may be the only opportunity for a firearms company to reach such a large audience. Have you ever seen a DPMS or Otis commercial during halftime of a Laker game?
All of this is not surprising however, as the UFC did support SOPA, and if they will turn a blind eye to the First Amendment for the sake of their profits, not caring for other rights such as the Second Amendment is but a minor hurdle in their goal to be in the mainstream.
This just makes me miss the good old days of PRIDE FC.
Bill, an ArmoryBlog reader sent us this little exchange he had with UFC president Dana White via Twitter over the UFC’s ban of all firearms related sponsors. Instead of worrying who sponsors the UFC, maybe the UFC should worry about who’s sailing their ship?