Last year, the Culinary Union fired off a letter to Anheuser-Busch and FOX requesting them to drop the UFC because of their alleged anti-gay and politically incorrect culture. Although UFC president Dana White (Pictured) claimed he wasn’t concerned with the trouble the Union was conjuring up, it appears their pleas have caught the brewer’s attention.
“We’ve communicated to the UFC our displeasure with certain remarks made by some of its fighters, and they have promised to address this. If the incidents continue, we will act,” Anheuser-Busch expressed in a statement obtained by AdvertisingAge.
A-B did not elaborate on exactly what “we will act” meant, but they made it clear their company “embraces diversity and does not condone insensitive and derogatory comments rooted in ethnicity, race, religion, sexual orientation, gender identity, disability, etc.”
Last April, the two powerhouse organizations entered into a multi-year partnership. As part of the agreement, Bud Light would be the presenting sponsor of four UFC pay-per-views each annual. Their logo would also be plastered throughout all UFC events, including inside the Octagon and on press conference and weigh-in banners.
Understanding the importance of pleasing their largest mainstream sponsor, the UFC reiterated that their philosophies coincide with A-B’s, but they couldn’t say the same for all of their independent contractors.
“With over 425 athletes on our roster, there have unfortunately been instances where a couple athletes have made insensitive or inappropriate comments. We don’t condone this behavior, and in no way is it reflective of the company or its values,” the UFC said in response to A-B’s stance.
“Unlike most other sports leagues, we encourage our athletes to engage online. It is part of our company culture, and whenever you are at the forefront of a trend or initiative, it comes with its own pitfalls. We will continue to embrace social media while looking for better ways to stay in front of the issues. This includes a mandate for our athletes to attend sensitivity training and a seminar on proper use of social media.”
To the UFC’s credit, they have made it clear their athletes should act more PC. Although, some of their efforts have been inconsistent, if not confusing.
When Miguel Torres tweeted something regarding rape, the organization instantly fired him. However, he was brought back after voluntarily undergoing rape sensitivity courses. Forrest Griffin also referenced rape on his Twitter account. He wasn’t publicly disciplined by the UFC, but apologized and paid a visit to the Rape Crisis Center in Las Vegas, Nevada.
During a pre-fight press conference to promote their second show on FOX, Rashad Evans told Phil Davis, “I’m gonna put those hands on you worse than that dude did to them other kids at Penn State.” While White was upset his former light heavyweight champ would mention the child molestation scandal at State College, he didn’t publicly punish him.
The UFC flies all of their athletes to Las Vegas each year for a fighter summit. I wonder what one of the first topics of discussion will be during this year’s gathering?