The U.S. Marine Corps is among one of the UFC's biggest and most important sponsors. There have been many crossovers where UFC fighters train as Marines, and we have seen many fighters who have military backgrounds be celebrated for their efforts.
So, it should be of great concern if this sponsorship is threatened. Over the past few weeks, that's exactly what is happening.
A war veteran's committee has recently shared it's gripes with the UFC. This war committee, which falls under the "Unite Here" union, has gone on to say that the UFC's attacks on women and gays are not what the military should support.
Wait a second, does the Unite Here union sound familiar? Oh yes, they are the same union that is attempting to unionize station casinos in Las Vegas under the Fertitta brothers. They have continually manufactured weak attacks at the UFC, most notably their "Unfit for Children" video highlighting screw ups among some top MMA personalities.
What is their new attempt? The very original "Unfit For the Corps" campaign. If you want to see this "movement", you can check out their website here. Yet again, the union shows its true colors, utilizing context and isolated incidents (almost entirely from Quinton Jackson videos and one Dana White rant) to manufacture sensationalism.
Last week, a group of 58 military veterans and union workers (most likely comprised almost entirely of the latter) gathered in front of the U.S. Marine Corps Barracks in Washington, D.C. to protest the Corps' sponsorship of the UFC.
The collective group was quoted as saying "The UFC is an organization that has tolerated people associated with it making jokes about rape, homophobic slurs, and sexually explicit remarks that are demeaning towards women."
While what they say is true to some extent, the UFC has not been entirely tolerant of these comments. Forrest Griffin and Miguel Torres were both reprimanded for their attempts at humor regarding rape, with Torres even being cut shortly from the promotion. Rashad Evans was reprimanded for his comment to Phil Davis where he jokingly mentioned the atrocity that was the Penn State Football scandal.
Ryan Hand, a veteran of the Marine Corps issued a statement where he said-
“As a Marine, I am deeply offended that the Marine Corps would ever associate itself with an organization that tolerates homophobia and hate speech like the UFC. As a taxpayer, our money can be better spent elsewhere, particularly as the Defense Department prepares deep cuts to the military.”
Chloe Connelly, who travelled from Philadelphia with Unite Here members stated-
“I’m here because I’m a survivor of a sexual assault and I’m a queer woman. So I find the UFC very, very offensive. They perpetuate homophobia. They perpetuate a rape culture and I don’t think any organizations that my tax dollars pay for should be supporting an organization like the UFC.”
Outside of a few isolated incidents, the UFC has in no way "perpetuated" homophobia, nor have they "perpetuated" rape culture. The comments made by notable UFC personalities are no worse than those that have been brought up by other notable personalities in all sports. With that in mind, Unite Here made a cover for their actions. They have also said that they are against Marine sponsoring of all major sports.
If that isn't the most thinly veiled attempt to cover up their weak arguments, I don't know what is. Well played? Hardly. The point that these incidents are not exclusive to the UFC has been used constantly against the weak attempts at Unite Here to highlight them. Now, they attempt to cover that up by officially stating that they are against all Marine sponsorship of major sports organizations, while targeting none in particular other than the UFC? How clever.
Here is the official statement from the U.S. Marine Corps Recruiting Command regarding the issue-
“The issues articulated in the petition regarding inappropriate conduct, alleged or substantiated, by a handful of UFC competitors and leadership are an area of concern that has been addressed with the UFC. We are monitoring the issue and continuously evaluate the effectiveness of our advertising and lead generation partnership. If corrective action is not implemented, we reserve the option to respond accordingly.”
Clearly, there is no rash reaction based on Unite Here's petitioning and protests, which was probably their best bet at getting the Marine Corps sponsorship lifted.
That doesn't mean this won't be a pain during the coming weeks. If there is anything that Unite Here can be commended for, it is persistence. Luckily, it seems no more spirited than their other attempts, and this is likely going to be futile.
This movement is basically just more of the same from the Culinary Worker's Union. They bring up yet another not-so-noble cause, wrapped up in sensationalism. This particular movement isn't too different from their others, it uses a small group of people who may hold influence and back them up with union strong arm tactics. The movement again targets isolated cases, mostly the same ones from Unite Here's other movements, which pertain to foul language and dirty remarks from fighters. The union again uses its shady tactics to attack Zuffa, and it looks stupid. This movement is, simply put, a low blow. It is weak, it is pitiful, and hopefully, it doesn't work.