The UFC will now prohibit its fighters from betting on UFC fights, according to a memo sent to athletes and their teams Monday by UFC chief business officer Hunter Campbell.
In the letter, obtained by ESPN, Campbell wrote that the UFC athlete code of conduct will now include a prohibition of wagering on UFC fights “in light of clear direction that we have received from regulators responsible for the regulated sports betting industry in the United States.” The prohibition will also include members of fighters’ teams and “certain others,” Campbell wrote. Yahoo Sports was the first to report the news.
“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 from governmental agencies, aware we are also subject to governmental regulation as we’re licensed promoters in virtually every state. It’s the natural evolution of the sport.”
The memo further noted that some states bar athletes from wagering on fights in promotions or events with which they are affiliated, a ban that can also be extended to fighters’ “training teams, family members and others that have access to ‘inside information’ relating to the athletes and their events.”
“The UFC’s contracted athletes are not exempt from these prohibitions, which state legislators and regulators have implemented for the purpose of maintaining the integrity of our sport,” Campbell wrote.
Betting sites have become a major sponsor of UFC fighters and MMA athletes in general over the past few years, as sports betting has become legal in numerous states across the country. Fighters will still be able to retain those betting sponsors and seek new ones, Campbell wrote in the memo, and the UFC will not prohibit them from being brand ambassadors for such companies. Some fighters get paid by betting sponsors for giving their picks on fights, which will also continue to be allowed under the UFC’s code of conduct.
Fighters like Justin Jaynes, who competed in the UFC in 2020 and 2021, have openly talked about betting on themselves over the past 18 months, and fighters, on their social media channels, have routinely shared accounts of them gambling on fights.