The United States Marine Corps has ended its sponsorship agreement with the UFC.
First reported by Stars and Stripes, the service severed its three-year partnership with the MMA organization after their contract expired Nov. 30. It follows mounting pressure from members of Congress to halt military sponsorships of professional sports.
Women’s groups and Unite Here — a labor union representing 250,000 workers in the hotel, gaming, food service and various industries that has long targeted UFC owners Frank and Lorenzo Fertitta, who also own Station Casinos in Las Vegas — had also been critical of the agreement.
Unite Here, embroiled in a disagreement with the Fertittas for their anti-union management of their casinos, has in turn blasted the UFC for some of its fighters making homophobic and sexist remarks.
According to Stars and Stripes, Marine Corps Recruiting Command spokesman Major John Caldwell said the contract was not renewed because the Corps is shifting the money to other endeavors.
“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,” Caldwell said.
Commercials featuring the Marine Corps had become customary during episodes of the UFC reality show “The Ultimate Fighter” on the FX and Spike networks the past few seasons.
In July, the U.S. Army announced it was discontinuing its NASCAR sponsorship after 10 years, citing a reallocation of its marketing budget.