UFC prohibits UFC fighters betting on UFC fights under Code of Conduct changes


UFC fighters are no longer allowed to bet on UFC fights, the promotion announced to its athletes in a Monday memo.

In response to “clear directions” given by sports betting regulators the UFC amended its Code of Conduct – to which fighters sign when signing a contract – in order to ban wagering on octagon fighting. This was written by Hunter Campbell, UFC Chief of Business, and originally reported by Yahoo Sports.

The new rule bars fighters’ team members and certain others from betting. However, it is not yet clear how the promotion will enforce this ban. Campbell mentioned restrictions that prohibit athletes and their families from betting on the sports they are involved in, as well as threats of criminal prosecution for any insider information.

“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. “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.”

Fighters are not forbidden from wagering on non-UFC promotions, and Campbell wrote that they are still allowed to accept sponsorships from sports betting companies; he said the promotion will help fighters determine the restrictions in their home states.

Several UFC fighters made public disclosures about their bets on fights in octagons, and claimed wins. UFC middleweight Derek Brunson was one of those who posted betting slips.

The UFC implemented a Code of Conduct in 2013 after several instances of bad public behavior from fighters, but the promotion has not enforced the code in recent years. It prohibits fighters, among others, from acting in ways that embarrass and discredit the UFC. However, the code also covers issues related to the law, such as harassment, gun crime, domestic violence, and other violations. The UFC began to make decisions about violations several years later, relying on both internal investigations, and then to the legal system. This defers any criminal punishment to the courts.

At UFC 279, several pay-per-view headliners – Nate Diaz, Khamzat Chimaev and Kevin Holland – engaged in a fracas that put them all in violation of the code. UFC President Dana White said that none of these fighters will be sanctioned.

Below is the full text of Campbell’s memo.

From Hunter Campbell, UFC Chief Financial Officer

To All Managers

We are writing to inform you about a modification to the UFC Athlete Conduct Policy. Each UFC athlete is bound under the Promotion Agreement or Ancillary Rights Agreement. The UFC Athlete Conduct Policy mandates that UFC contracted athletes act legally, ethically, and responsibly and refrain from any conduct that could jeopardize the UFC’s integrity. In light of clear direction that we have received from regulators responsible for the regulated sports betting industry in the United States, we are compelled at this time to recognize in the UFC Athlete Conduct Policy certain restrictions relating to wagering by our athletes, members of their teams and certain others.

As you may already be aware, most states in which regulated sports betting is conducted prohibit athletes from wagering on promotions or events with which they are affiliated. This prohibition is also extended to athletes’ training groups, their families and anyone with access to information about the athletes or the events. Sometimes, violating these prohibitions can lead to criminal charges. These prohibitions are enforced by state regulators and legislators to protect the integrity of the sport. To help our athletes understand their obligations under state laws, the UFC Athlete Conduct Policy has included a wagering ban. This prohibits athletes from betting on UFC matches. We have also provided some additional information to assist athletes determining the potential scope of state-imposed wagering restrictions on others. Notice: UFC athletes are not prohibited from signing sponsorship deals with betting companies. UFC athletes may continue to pursue such sponsorships in accordance with applicable law.

We appreciate your dedication to our sport and your efforts to ensure its integrity. If you have any questions about the UFC Athlete Conduct Policy, you may contact me.

Please click here for the complete code of conduct.

Thank you.