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A major policy change will no longer allow UFC fighters and managers to bet on fights. The move encompasses all matches, even if the fighter isn’t participating in them.
The mixed martial arts company sent this memo to fighters and their teams on Monday:
The UFC making the change as part of their UFC Athlete Conduct Policy arguing that sports betting would be detrimental to the “integrity of the UFC organization.”
Fighters will still be able to be sponsored by sports betting companies like DraftKings and FanDuel, but they themselves and their close associates can’t place bets.
Some UFC fighters said they’ve been restricted from even signing up:
RISE OF SPORTS BETTING QUESTIONS ETHICS
There’s no doubt that there seems to be a conflict of interest happening. Major sports leagues are not only involved with, but are actively promoting and falling head over heels with sports betting companies. You can’t watch an NFL or MLB game without seeing countless DraftKings commercials.
With this blatant push of sports betting comes serious ethical questions.
One of the biggest concerns I have involves the officials. How many times does a referee or an umpire blow a simple call that the whole world disagrees with? The fact that there’s usually no discipline handed down absolutely reeks of shadiness. To have that in the back of a viewer’s mind only hurts the sports. These major sports leagues, including the UFC need to focus on their officials.
SPORTS BETTING LAWS ARE CONFUSING
Although the laws get a little hazy at times and vary from state to state and country to country, many policy guidelines prohibit athletes from betting on any sports they are involved in.
For example, an NBA player can’t bet on any NBA games. A football player can’t bet on NFL games, etc.
The exception usually involves individual sports like tennis, golf and boxing (and previously the UFC).
Even if a player can’t legally bet on themselves here in the United States, when they compete overseas they may be able to. Although it may seem unethical, it’s not illegal in some countries.
SPORTS BETTING MAKING BIG MONEY
Sports betting is only going to get bigger. The rise of mobile apps and more states (like Massachusetts) soon to approve of legalized sports betting is only going to saturate the industry. New Jersey alone brought in over $1 billion last year since legalizing betting.
I don’t blame the UFC for enacting this type of policy. They do have a legitimate concern that they want to get ahead of. The only argument I would raise is if an athlete should be allowed to bet on themselves in a favorable outcome.
Last year the NFL suspended Atlanta Falcons wide receiver Calvin Ridley for all of the 2022 season after he placed $1,500 in bets on his team. He never bet on them to lose, but still received the harsh punishment.
31 current states have legalized sports betting.