UFC president Dana White confirmed on Thursday that any gun-related brand will no longer be allowed to sponsor UFC fighters in the Octagon.
“Yeah, guns and ammo are not sponsored in the UFC,” White said following the pre-fight press conference in Chicago.
Reports circulated that the UFC’s relationship with Fox may have something to do with the ban of gun-related sponsors. The UFC president admitted some relevancy, but advised the ban has more to do with the organization’s efforts to expand internationally, and is not an issue to fuss over. White explained that fighters feel the effects of such a ban, but that’s just the way things are.
“It wasn’t necessarily a Fox decision. I don’t know what the big deal is,” White said. “I know that some of the fighters get affected by it, but it is what it is.
“The reality of it is we’re going into other countries now. If you’re sitting in China, you want to see a United States Marine commercial? Holy (expletive), no! It’s all part of the growing pains of building a business like this and building the sport.”
The UFC has history in banning sponsors for a number of reasons. Some of the more notable bans from recent history have been names such as Affliction – which is no longer banned – and CondomDepot.com.
The Good4U Drinks company, another banned brand, was told by UFC officials in 2010 that their product was seen as a direct competitor of Zuffa-owned Xenergy, and wouldn’t be allowed sponsorship of fighters for UFC fight cards. UFC heavyweight Shane Carwin, who was sponsored by Good4U at the time, made his displeasure known by tweeting, “another worthy, great, honorable company supporting fighters banned by the UFC.”
Carwin’s post was later removed from his Twitter timeline.
Like most other sports entities, the sponsors the UFC often refuses conflict with other sponsors or interests already ingrained with the promotion, such as the case between Good4U Drinks and Xenergy. Other brands that promote subjects that the promotion doesn’t feel fit its image, like this case with firearm related sponsors, are often refused.