By Jason Moles
News trickled down last week that Zuffa has instituted a sponsorship ban on all firearm, ammo, hunting, and knife companies. Essentially, no more Matt Hughes. Starting January 23rd, Ammo To Go and The Gun Store, among others, will no longer be able to sponsor fighters. When contacted by CagePotato in hopes to better understand the reasoning behind the less than popular decision, the UFC said only that “These are rules set in place by Fox” — who declined to comment.
Not satisfied with that answer, I called up the man himself. And by “called up,” I mean tweeted. And by “the man himself,” I meant Dana White – not Sheik Tahnoon. His answer only raised more questions, primarily why doesn’t the UFC President know that some of his fighters will soon receive one less paycheck courtesy of FOX? Talk about bad timing, too. Wasn’t it just a week ago that Lorenzo Fertita was touting to ESPN the significant amount of money to be made in sponsorships?
According to reports by Ingrained Media, the ban applies to all Zuffa promoted events. Even if you won’t be appearing on any of the FOX Broadcasting Company’s channels, you are still not permitted to be sponsored by any of the aforementioned types of companies. We all knew that concessions were made in order to secure the FOX deal, but did we really think it would come to this? You know somewhere in the pine-covered backwoods, a lonely and shaken two-time Welterweight champion is weeping bitterly – not because he needs the extra money, but because it’s still America to him dammit.
What are we to make of all of this? Don’t even dare asking if this is ‘fair‘ or not. Would we be justified in crying outrage, pointing to the food stolen out of fighter X’s mouth? Is it safe to say that a company on the rise is distancing itself from things that are potentially lethal in order to gain mass acceptance? Before we get up in arms, let’s wait for the fighters who are actually affected by this to give us their take. In the meantime, let us know in the comments if you think this is a step in the right direction for FOX and Zuffa or if they’re shooting themselves in the foot on this one.
UPDATED 01/24/2012: A member of Fox’s media relations department responded to our request for comment on the sponsorship ban with the following statement:
“Simply put, UFC is complying with its FOX Sports Media Group contract which only applies to events and shows carried on its networks. Beyond that, FOX does not comment on its standards and practices.”