One of the UFC’s most high-profile and longest running backers, ‘The US Marines’ have ended their sponsorship with the organization.
“Due to evolving mission requirements, budgetary constraints, marketing analysis and the recommendation of our contracted advertising agency, resources previously allocated to the endeavor have been applied to alternate priorities,” Major John Caldwell, a spokesman for Marine Corps Recruiting Command tells Stripes.com.
It’s a surprising move as the two organizations appear to be a perfect match, with the UFC providing the young adult male demographic that the Marines are looking to target.
However, digging a little deeper it appears that politics might have had a big hand in this decision being made.
A few months ago the ‘UNITE HERE’ union protested that the UFC was an inappropriate organization for The Marines to be sponsoring, citing examples of a few fighters who had made inappropriate jokes about rape and making homophobic remarks.
It doesn’t take a genius to figure out that this union may have links to The Culinary Union who have been a constant thorn in the UFC’s side and are cited by Dana White as being the main reason why the sport still hasn’t been licensed in New York.
It’s an unfortunate situation and a real blow for the UFC as they have certainly benefited from the sponsorship with The Marines in many different ways, not just financially, but in terms of the credibility and prestige that came with it.
It’s not the end of the world – they still have other marquee sponsors like Bud Lite, but this is an important reminder that despite the remarkable progress they’ve made over the past decade they are still vulnerable to attack and must make every effort to drill it into their fighters that they are required to act professionally outside of the Octagon as well as inside of it.