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UFC Bans Full Tilt Poker

Written by:
C Costigan
Published on:
Mar/26/2009

The world's second largest online poker, Full Tilt Poker, has been banned by the UFC (Ultimate Fighting Championship).

The ban affects Full Tilt Poker's ability to advertise on Spike TV.

From MMA Payout.com:

MMAPayout.com has written extensively on the curious path of Full Tilt Poker as it has made itself a premier sponsor for both fighters and the organization itself in the UFC. The UFC had for some time kept sportsbooks and online gambling/gaming businesses at arms length. Their being competition for the major Vegas casinos who hosted the UFC as well as their illegality in some situations made the UFC reticent to work with them. With a collapsing ad market, the UFC recently changed their informal policy and brought in Full Tilt as a top shelf sponsor for the fight company. Full Tilt has also become a major sponsor of fighters, with their logo being omnipresent on fighter hats, shorts, and T-shirts. The road seemed to have taken another turn, as MMAPayout.com learned that UFC television partner Spike TV has stepped in and nixed Full Tilt from being a sponsor on its' airwaves.

Sources indicated the Spike embargo on Full Tilt would go into effect at UFC 95 card on Spike. The ban affected the UFC in it's ability to have signage on the Octagon mat as well as naming rights on the replays during the broadcast. The ban didn't look to affect the fighters, who were able to wear signage for the poker company on the card. This was thought to be phased out by the next Spike card in Nashville, though. Now the ban has been put in effect for all cards. While there was no explicit connection between the two in the e-mail quoted, the leap from one to the other seems related. There are unconfirmed reports that the cause may be a push from poker rival Ultimate Bet, to be the UFC sponsor, but the validity of these reports is in question at this point.

The UFC is run by Lorenzo Fertitta, who is a director in Las Vegas' Station Casinos, which last week announced its intentions to declare bankruptcy by middle of April.

Full Tilt Poker's luck appears to be running thin these last few months.  The company is currently embroiled in an ugly lawsuit involving an alleged "breach of contract".

According to complainant, Clonie Gowen, she and Full Tilt Poker came to a verbal agreement in 2007 that would require her to represent the company one of its professional players, wearing related apparel at all live poker events. In return she would receive 1 percent of the companies overall revenues.  Ms. Gowen is claiming to be owed $40 million.

Christopher Costigan, Gambling911.com Publisher 

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