In a surprising move, the mixed martial arts organization Ultimate Fighting Championships looks to be banning all fighters from accepting sponsorships from Full Tilt Poker, apparently due to a deal worked out with a rival online poker room picking up sponsorship of UFC promotions.
According to the website, the UFC has sent out an e-mail on Monday that placed Full Tilt Poker on the list of companies banned from sponsoring individual fighters on promotional fight cards from the company. The e-mail, according to MMAPayout, states, “Until further notice, Full Tilt Poker will not be allowed for any upcoming events.” Previously, MMAPayout had reported that this ban would be in effect for any events that are on the cable network Spike – which shows many of the events on the UFC schedule – but now seems to have stretched over to the fighters themselves.
Other MMA sites are reporting that this move is potentially due to the UFC finding sponsorship through the Excapsa Network of poker rooms. What isn’t known is whether it will be Ultimate Bet or Absolute Poker that would pick up this sponsorship and how Spike, as the organization’s main cable broadcast outlet, would handle the new sponsorship. It was recently announced that Ultimate Bet would be a sponsor for the upcoming World Wrestling Entertainment “Wrestlemania XXV” card on April 5th.
The UFC world has been skirting the issue of using online poker rooms for sponsorship of its events and its fighters. Bodog Poker was the first to use MMA fighters as promotional opportunities for the company and Full Tilt picked up many sponsorship deals itself. Full Tilt Poker had their logo on many of the fighter’s apparel for recent fights on the UFC circuit and had also decked out their entourages with the requisite apparel as well.
The current problem seems to be the gray area that is the advertisement of online poker sites. Much like their sponsorship of poker programming on television, poker rooms had worked around these areas by using their “dot net” arms – which are billed as educational or recreational play sites – as their way into the sponsorships. UFC broadcast partner, the cable network Spike, felt that there was too close a connection to the “dot com” sites – the real money segments of the online poker world – and seems to have put an end to this type of deal due to the various legalities of online gaming. This ban affects the ability of UFC to label their Octagon-shaped rings with any logos and to fulfill any agreements they would have with online poker sites.

This site is registered on as a development site.