The UFC now prohibits its fighters from betting on any fight within the promotion, regardless of their level of involvement. The change was introduced as part of the UFC’s updated Athlete Code of Conduct in an effort to curb violations that may result in criminal charges, prevent inside betting, and maintain the integrity of the sport.
It must be noted that, even before the introduction of this new amendment, many states already have prohibitions in place for athletes, along with their teams and close ones, from wagering on events they are affiliated with. What the update does is enforce the measure throughout the promotion, although fighters will still be allowed to sign sponsorship deals with betting sites.
“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,” Hunter Campbell, UFC Chief Business Officer, wrote in a statement.
The prohibition for fighters on wagering on UFC fights is “in light of clear direction that we have received from regulators responsible for the regulated sports betting industry in the United States,” a memo sent to athletes and their teams Monday reads. The prohibition will also include members of fighters’ teams and “certain others.”
UFC just issued this memo to fighters and managers regarding a change in their athlete conduct policy:
UFC fighters are now prohibited from gambling on any UFC fight, regardless of if they are involved or not. They can still be sponsored just not allowed to bet at all. pic.twitter.com/6zhuIITxmx
— Ariel Helwani (@arielhelwani) October 17, 2022 “Athletes are prohibited from placing any wagers (directly or through a third party) on any UFC match, including placing any wagers on themselves,” the update reads. Athletes that become aware or have knowledge of any wagering in violation of the restrictions must notify UFC of such incidents, in accordance with the promotion’s Athlete Conduct Policy.
“As the sport has grown over time, the overwhelming majority of states that regulate sports gambling have some prohibitions on inside betting activity,” Campbell told ESPN. “And this wasn’t something the UFC advanced independently. This was something the UFC set forth in response to governmental agencies, aware we are also subject to government regulation as we’re licensed promoters in virtually every state. It’s the natural evolution of the sport.”
The policy change comes at a point in which betting sites have become major sponsors of UFC fighters and MMA athletes in general. Such partnerships have become frequent over the past few years, fueled by the legalization of sports wagering in numerous states across the U.S. In some cases, fighters even get paid by betting sponsors for giving their picks on fights. This activity will continue to be allowed under the UFC’s code of conduct.