If you are hoping to bet on the pay-per-view fights this weekend, make sure you aren’t a UFC talent first.
UFC sent out a memo to all fighters earlier this week, informing them that their conduct policy around gambling has been changed.
“Athletes are prohibited from placing any wagers (directly or through a third party) on any UFC match, including placing any wagers on themselves,” the memo, which was obtained by Ariel Helwani, stated.
The message also went on to say that “relatives living in the same household as an athlete,” “an athletes coaches,” or “any other person with access to non-public information regarding participants in any MMA match” are also barred from placing such wagers.
It was stated in the memo that UFC fighters are still allowed to take sponsorships from gambling websites, and are able to offer picks as part of those endorsement deals. However, they are not allowed to actually place any bets. Also, the memo does not say anything about UFC fighters not being allowed to bet on other MMA promotions or other professional sports.
UFC’s move to stop athletes and employees from gambling aligns them with the stance that most professional sports leagues have held for decades.
A majority of top sports leagues have long been strict on sports gambling. While athletes in most cases are free to gamble on sports unrelated to the one they compete in, there are often strict rules that stop them from betting within their own sport or league.
In the MLB, the largest baseball league in the world, players or team employees can be suspended for a year if they bet on a baseball game, per rule 21. They can also be permanently suspended from play if they place a wager on a game that they are directly involved with.
American basketball league NBA prohibits players from placing bets or influencing others to place wagers. An ESPN report in 2019 cited that the league works with Sportsradar, a data agency that works to point out “betting anomalies” related to NBA games.
And the top hockey league, the NHL, says that all players and employees are “strictly” prohibited from placing bets on any games in the league.