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Mixed Martial Arts Takes Hit From Full Tilt Poker Shutdown

Written by:
Ace King
Published on:
Apr/19/2011
Mixed Martial Arts Full Tilt Poker

There are rumblings throughout the Mixed Martial Arts community that the shutdown of Full Tilt Poker on Friday may cause the sport to take a significant hit on sponsorship dollars. 

An indictment was handed down against the world’s second largest online poker room this past Friday.  Charges include money laundering and conspiracy.  The US Justice Department alleges that Full Tilt Poker used its financial influences to encourage at least one Utah-based bank to “misrepresent” gambling transactions.  Because Friday’s indictment was “superseding”, and the complaint mentions banks in the plural form, it is widely believed that other bank officials will be indicted in the coming weeks or months.  The company must pay a multi-billion dollar fine and has been shut off from accepting US customers following seizure of the FullTiltPoker.com domain name. 

Full Tilt had just announced a partnership with Fertitta Interactive, run by the same brothers who operate the Ultimate Fighting Championship.  With only a week to absorb the news of this fresh alliance, Fertitta was quick to squash these plans moving forward after the indictments were announced. 

ESPN this week has been forced to sever promotional ties with both Full Tilt Poker and PokerStars (another of the indicted companies) estimated to be in the millions of dollars.  The MMA will likely do the same.  For some time now, the Full Tilt Poker logo has appeared prominently on the shorts of some Strikeforce fighters along with the cage and canvas. 

Income for fighters outside the UFC could be “severely” affected for now, warned MMAgents founder Ken Pavia in an interview with MMJunkie.com.

"I would venture to say the poker industry is equal to apparel industry as the No. 1 sponsor of fighters outside the UFC," Pavia said.

- Ace King, Gambling911.com

 

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