Did Ultimatebet Outbid Full Tilt Poker For UFC Sponsorship Rights?

Published on 2009-03-25 03:02:16

full tilt logo at ufc eventsWhen Full Tilt Poker logos started popping up everywhere at UFC events, nobody was really surprised.

Poker and mixed martial arts are both male-dominated activities, and the benefits of having Full Tilt Poker sponsor UFC events and fighters were pretty obvious. Full Tilt Poker would be granted access to a potentially untapped market of young males who might become potential Full Tilt customers, while the UFC and its fighters would be able to take extract some sponsorship dollars from a cash-rich company.

It seemed like a win-win situation for both sides.

That is why it was a bit surprising when word came down last night that the UFC was no longer allowing Full Tilt Poker sponsorships.

Now, there were still Full Tilt Poker banners up on the UFC.com website at the time this article was published. However, I have heard this news from multiple sources, and I believe it to be true.

When I first heard the news, I thought that maybe the UFC was enacting this ban for legal reasons. I thought that maybe the UFC's lawyers had advised Dana White and company to steer clear of getting involved with online poker sites.

MMA Payout reported last night that Spike TV, which is the UFC's major TV partner, may have stepped in and "nixed Full Tilt from being a sponsor on its' airwaves".

This ban, according to the site, would be fully implemented for the UFC's upcoming "UFC Fight Night" show in Nashville, Tennessee.

Other sites, however, are reporting that this may not necessarily be the reason behind Full Tilt Poker being banned from the UFC.

MMA Fix is reporting that the real reason for this banning may be due to an exclusive sponsorship deal that the UFC may or may not have signed with Ultimatebet and/or Absolute Poker. If Ultimatebet/Absolute Poker did in fact sign an exclusive sponsorship deal with the UFC, then they would have certainly asked for all the logos of their competitors (ie, Full Tilt Poker) to be banned from appearing on the trunks of the UFC's fighters.

Ultimatebet is already doing some sponsorship deals with the WWE, and it now appears as though they might be branching out even further with their sponsorship of the UFC.

Assuming this news is true, a few questions immediately pop into my head:

1. Will the "Full Tilt Fight Train" promotion still go ahead as planned? I can't imagine that Howard Lederer would be too eager to continue with this promotion, seeing as how his company has been banned from advertising in the UFC.

2. How could Full Tilt let themselves get outbid and outmanoeuvered by Ultimatebet? Full Tilt's sponsorship deal with the UFC clearly made a great deal of sense for the company, and I'm surprised that they let it slip through their fingers.

There are two distinct possibilities at this point:

1. Due to Spike TV's insistence that Full Tilt Poker be removed from their broadcasts of UFC events, the UFC just decided to ban Full Tilt Poker altogether.

2. The UFC did in fact ink a deal with Ultimatebet, and Full Tilt Poker is now banned due to the fact that they are a direct competitor of UB.

We should know more about the situation over the next few weeks when the UFC hosts their "UFC Fight Night 18" and UFC 97 events.


Filed Under: Random Poker News

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