Lawmakers Possibly Cutting Military Sponsorship of MMA Events

Armed Forces sponsorships of NASCAR and MMA might disappear in the future.

One of the biggest stories heading into last weekend's Strikeforce: Overeem vs.Werdum event was Zuffa implementing the "sponsorship tax" on companies wishing to sponsor a fighter. This led to some fans being very upset about money coming out of fighter pockets. Now it looks like there may be a move taking place at the political level which may see fighters impacted again.

Via The Hill:

Rep. Betty McCollum (D-Minn.) is readying her next move in a months-long effort to slash Pentagon spending for NASCAR and other sports sponsorships.

McCollum questions whether the U.S. military should be spending hundreds of millions of dollars on sponsorship deals for sports including stock car racing, professional fishing and pro wrestling at a time when the nation is running large deficits. Military officials and congressional supporters say the sponsorships help with recruitment.

The House recently "voted to eliminate funding for homeless veterans, slash community health centers serving low-income families and pass a fiscal year 2011 budget that would force 800,000 Americans to lose their jobs," McCollum said recently. "Yet taxpayer-funded sponsorship of NASCAR racing teams was protected. I find this absurd."

McCollum has failed twice to advance proposals that would have changed the way the military awards contracts and doles out funds for those events, as well as for ultimate-fighting sponsorships.

Emphasis mine.

McCollum's actions would seem to make sense on the level that sponsorships should come after funding of programs for veterans. While the argument in favor of the sponsorships is the awareness and use as a recruiting tool, the article does describe that a $645k sponsorship of a NASCAR race led to 439 contact leads, only 6 of which were "qualified" and none that led to an enlistment.

It appears that McCollum's new plan is the following amendment: 

That amendment would have required the military to submit for a 30-day congressional review period any contract larger than $250,000 to sponsor a motor sports racing team, driver or event; a fishing team or tournament; a professional wrestling event, or an ultimate-fighting event.

Reading that, it doesn't seem that it would be too detrimental at the fighter level as I doubt the National Guard is laying a quarter of a million dollars on many (if any) fighters but I don't know if multiple individual sponsorships of fighters at an event would be considered a "single" sponsorship that would need to undergo congressional review.

This is one of those "under the radar" stories to keep an eye on.

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