UFC bans weapon sponsors

January 24, 2012

Cage Potato reports that Zuffa has banned all gun, ammo, hunting and knife sponsors in the UFC. The ban is a one of the guidelines promulgated by the Fox Sports Media Group.

Longtime UFC fighter sponsor, The Gun Store, is the most notable to be affected. Also affected was Ammo to Go, which sponsored fighters on the recent UFC on FX 1 card and UFC 142. According to reports, the news broke last week and the ban was instituted this week.

Cage Potato received word from Fox regarding the reason for the restriction:

Via Cage Potato:

“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.”

MMA Payout had the opportunity to contact Grohmann Knives, also known as GKnives.com. It sponsored Jim Miller Friday night among other fighters. In an email to MMA Payout it stated it was not notified of the ban and in fact the company was solicited by UFC fighters about possible future sponsorship opportunities.

Payout Perspective:

The ban is not too surprising considering the UFC-Fox relationship. With being in the mainstream comes restrictions and we can see this as the sponsorship version of the more family friendly UFC. Yet, this may hurt some fighters who rely on sponsors like The Gun Store and Ammo to Go as a source of revenue.

Seen another way, the ban could foster a new way to think about sponsorship. Ingrained Media, a marketing firm working with MMA fighters, hypothesized that there may be a time when there may not be any sponsors in the UFC. It called for more of a strategy when it comes to building brands for fighters rather than just finding logo placement for televised events. The challenge is to find ways to leverage the fighter’s UFC platform in to sustainable revenue for the fighter and value for the brand. We will see if this happens.

While the ban hurts all fighters, it likely hurts mid-tier fighters the most considering they are on the televised portion of cards cards but do not make the top tier money as main eventers and are not lower-tier fighters who may not be able to solicit sponsors at the point in their career. For them, the MMA middle class will have to look elsewhere for sponsors.

4 Responses to “UFC bans weapon sponsors”

  1. BrainSmasher on January 25th, 2012 6:18 PM

    Where is all the people pissing and moaning for poor little ol’ helpless fighters not making enough money? When the UFC gets strict on small sponsors so fighters can eventually get larger endorsement deals from large compaies everyone complains due to their short sightedness. Now we have Fox killing a sponsors for their own benefit and not for any bigger picture for MMA or its fighters. I guess it isnt “cool” yet to hate on everything Fox Sports. Only when its the UFC the haters can spin something to complain about is it an issue.

  2. Machiel Van on January 26th, 2012 9:01 AM
  3. Machiel Van on January 26th, 2012 9:01 AM

    This issue sparked a lot of controversy over at SB Nation.

  4. BrainSmasher on January 26th, 2012 4:21 PM

    As much as i respect Nate Quarry’s situation. I cant help but to think he is over dramatizing the situation. There are many Americans who live their life on minimum wage. For those who dont know that is $15,000 a year BEFORE taxes not the $16,000 a year after taxes Nates claims for his first year. Not to mention anyone with that income is elligible for government benefits. So if he is driving a car with bad tires it is his own fault. There is a thing called priorities. If Nate didnt have tired then clearly they were very low on his list if on there at all. Everyone likes to make their situation be worse than it really is.

    Lets look at this without the sob story. Did the $400 per fight he got really make a world of difference? Nate having 16,000 or 16,800 for that year isnt going to change his life one bit. Lets look at the big picture. The UFC dropping the Gun Store allows them to get a tv contract that puts the fighters infront of millions of people, different people, and many more people than before. This allows all the fighters to get more sponsors interested and get more money from each sponsors. This was also the purpose of the mom and pop ban a while back. To increase the quality of sponsors and raise the class of the fighters to what society expects from its world class athletes. It is a shame Nate is fighting in the UFC and only getting $400 for a fight from his sponsors. He can fight and cling to that crapping system of low class sponsors all he wants. I trained with fighters who got $200 cash and clothes for their first ever fight in a local show. Yet Nate is getting peanuts and to ignorant to realize it isnt a good deal. As long as their is people like Nate who will slap a brand on his shorts to be seen by millions of people. The big sponsors will keep paying peanuts while at the same time they go Sponsor a redneck in a racecar and pay him $100,000 to put their name on his car. It is important for the UFC to look at the bigger picture and save the fighters from themselves. The UFC cut out all the back door ways to give your product in the cage for peanuts. Now the UFC has to drop a loyal sponsors again for the betterment of the sport and the fighters.

    If anyone has an issue with the Gun ban then the fans and the fighters should voice it to FOX. Speaking out against the UFC when their hands are tied is pointless. This TV deal will take sponsors to another level. Anyone who is fighting on UFC on FOX 2 will be able to go to a sponsor and tell them “i am fighting on Fox. The last event drew 8 million viewers.” these guys will be able to demand more than they ever have before. Losing the Gun Store and their peanuts sponsor money is a small price to pay.

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