March 30, 2009 (CAP Newswire) — ProWrestling.com reported over the weekend that leading poker site FullTiltPoker.com has been put on a list of Ultimate Fighting Championship's (UFC) “not allowed” sponsors, essentially banning the organization from sponsoring or advertising in any connection to UFC.
The site quotes an email allegedly sent out by UFC that states “UNTIL FURTHER NOTICE, FULL TILT POKER WILL NOT BE ALLOWED FOR ANY UPCOMING EVENTS”.
The news comes as a surprise, given that Full Tilt Poker had been a major sponsor of the organization, with prominent banner ads displayed on www.ufc.com’s already ad-heavy home page.
According to the ProWrestling.com article, the UFC organization “had for some time kept sportsbooks and online gambling/gaming businesses at arms length,” seeing them as possible competitors and also possible legal liabilities. Then, with the recent decline of other ad channels, this policy was discarded and Full Tilt was allowed to become a sponsor. And now, that situation has apparently changed again, though sources don’t agree on just what the reason may be.
(Another unconfirmed report from MMA Fix.com claims that UltimateBet will now be the UFC's exclusive sponsor for the remainder of the year, suggesting that the Full Tilt "ban" is a result of a financial situation, not an anti-poker crusade.)
In a short time, Full Tilt had become a major sponsor of not only UFC but also individual fighters, “with their logo being omnipresent on fighter hats, shorts, and T-shirts,” wrote Will Hengelbrok in the ProWrestling.com article.
The article suggested that the reason is Spike TV’s ban of Full Tilt. Spike is the primary television carrier of UFC matches. There is, at present, no evidence to confirm this.