UFC Bans Its Fighters From Betting Internally

UFC Athlete Conduct Policy Gets Updated

draftkings sportsbook mobile appOn Oct. 17, Chief Business Officer of the UFC Hunter Campbell, sent a letter to all UFC athletes and their teams explaining that they have updated their athlete code of conduct policy, and subsequently, the rules on UFC wagering. The organization now prohibits its fighters and those close to them with access to “non-public information,” from wagering on all UFC fights. 

“Athletes are prohibited from placing any wagers (directly or through a third party) on any UFC match, including placing any wagers on themselves,” the updated policy reads. “In most states with legalized sports betting, wagering by an athlete (directly or through a third party) on any MMA match put on by a promoter with which they are affiliated is illegal and may result in criminal sanction.”

Indiana, for example, has very strict rules in place that prohibit anyone under contract with the organization or anyone remotely affiliated to the athlete, to bet on that sport. This applies to not only the UFC but all sports.

Who/What Is Affected?

“Athletes should also be aware that in most states these same prohibitions apply to some or all of (i) relatives living in the same household as an athlete, (ii) an athlete’s coaches, managers, handlers, athletic trainers, medical professionals and staff, and (iii) any other person with access to non-public information regarding participants in any MMA match,” the memo read. 

Furthermore, “an athlete that becomes aware or has knowledge of any wagering in violation of these restrictions must immediately notify UFC of such incident in accordance with this UFC Athlete Conduct Policy.”

Some fighters have been very upfront about their participation in UFC betting. Justin Jaynes is among those most popularly known for betting on himself after he bet his entire fight purse on himself and lost it in UFC Vegas 30. This and other similar instances now obviously violate the UFC Athlete Conduct Policy and will have to stop immediately. 

Violations of the UFC Athlete Conduct Policy do not, however, include sponsorships or brand partnerships with sports betting operators and athletes will still be able to retain their current partnerships and enter into new ones. Some fighters even get paid by betting sponsors to provide their picks, and this will also still be allowed. 

The UFC itself has betting partnerships in place, including one with DraftKings. In a press release from March 2021, the UFC announced a “groundbreaking” partnership that made DraftKings the first “Official Sportsbook and Daily Fantasy Partner.” 

Gambling Policies In Other Sports

Most sports leagues such as the NFL, MLB, NHL, and NBA allow players to take part in casual sports betting on sports leagues besides their own. There is however a zero tolerance policy on betting within the league you play in, in all of these organizations. The “zero tolerance” was proven earlier this year when NFL wide receiver Calvin Ridley of the Atlanta Falcons, was subject to an indefinite suspension through at least the 2022 season, for betting on not just the NFL, but his own team. To make matters worse, Georgia has not yet legalized sports betting (though it might soon, with midterm elections around the corner).

Now, with sports betting legal in over 30 states in some form or another, sports leagues may begin to crack down even harder on sports betting for professional athletes as they look to maintain integrity across these leagues. 

Mia Fowler is a graduate of Chapman University where she studied business marketing and journalism and played on the women’s soccer team. Following her 16-year journey with soccer, she started writing for Lineups.com. She specifically enjoys analysis of the NFL.

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