UFC fighters are no longer allowed to bet on UFC fights, the promotion announced to its athletes in a Monday memo.
Acting on what it said was “clear direction” from sports betting regulators, the UFC has amended its Code of Conduct – to which all fighters agree when they sign a fight contract – to prohibit wagering on octagon fights, UFC Chief Business Officer Hunter Campbell wrote in the memo obtained by MMA Fighting and first reported by Yahoo! Sports.
The new rule also bars members of fighters’ teams and “certain others” from betting, though it’s not immediately clear how the promotion will police those affected by the change. Campbell cited restrictions in other states that completely forbid athletes, their families and “training teams” from betting on sports they play, threatening criminal charges for inside information that could be used for unlawful gain.
“The UFC’s contracted athletes are not exempt from these prohibitions, which state legislators and regulators have implemented for the purpose of maintaining the integrity of our sport,” Campbell wrote. “In order to assist our athletes in understanding their obligations under the laws of the majority of states in which sports betting is permitted, and in further support of these integrity measures, UFC has incorporated a wagering prohibition into the UFC Athlete Conduct Policy expressly prohibiting athletes from wagering on any UFC match.”
Fighters are not forbidden from wagering on non-UFC promotions, and Campbell wrote that they are still allowed to accept sponsorships from sports betting companies; he said the promotion will help fighters determine the restrictions in their home states.
Several UFC fighters have publicly disclosed bets on octagon fights and touted wins; UFC middleweight Derek Brunson is among those to post betting slips.
The UFC implemented a Code of Conduct in 2013 after several instances of bad public behavior from fighters, but the promotion has not enforced the code in recent years. The code prohibits fighters from, among other things, acting in a way that would embarrass or discredit the UFC, but it also extends to issues with the law including harassment, gun crimes and domestic violence. Several years after the policy was implemented, the UFC shifted to making decisions on violations based on internal investigations and later to the legal system, deferring any punishment to courts.
At UFC 279, several pay-per-view headliners – Nate Diaz, Khamzat Chimaev and Kevin Holland – engaged in a fracas that put them all in violation of the code. UFC President Dana White, however, said none of the fighters would be sanctioned.
Below is the full text of Campbell’s memo.
From: Hunter Campbell, UFC Chief Business Officer
To: All Athletes and Managers
We are writing to advise you of a change to the UFC Athlete Conduct Policy to which each UFC athlete subscribes under our Promotion Agreement and/or Ancillary Rights Agreement. As you know, the UFC Athlete Conduct Policy requires UFC’s contracted athletes to act in a legal, ethical, and responsible manner and avoid conduct detrimental to the integrity of the UFC organization. In light of clear direction that we have received from regulators responsible for the regulated sports betting industry in the United States, we are compelled at this time to recognize in the UFC Athlete Conduct Policy certain restrictions relating to wagering by our athletes, members of their teams and certain others.
As you may already be aware, most states in which regulated sports betting is conducted prohibit athletes from wagering on promotions or events with which they are affiliated. Many states also extend this prohibition to the athletes’ training teams, family members and others that have access to “inside information” relating to the athletes and their events. In some instances, violations of these prohibitions could result in criminal charges. The UFC’s contracted athletes are not exempt from these prohibitions, which state legislators and regulators have implemented for the purpose of maintaining the integrity of our sport. In order to assist our athletes in understanding their obligations under the laws of the majority of states in which sports betting is permitted, and in further support of these integrity measures, UFC has incorporated a wagering prohibition into the UFC Athlete Conduct Policy expressly prohibiting athletes from wagering on any UFC match. We have also provided some additional information to assist athletes determining the potential scope of state-imposed wagering restrictions on others. Note: This policy does not prohibit UFC athletes from entering into sponsorship agreements with sports betting companies. UFC athletes may continue to pursue such sponsorships in accordance with applicable law.
We appreciate your dedication to our sport and your efforts to ensure its integrity. If you have any questions about the UFC Athlete Conduct Policy, you may contact me.
Please click here to review the full code of conduct, including new amendment on wagering.