UFC Joins Other Major Leagues With American Gaming Association Initiative

Posted on April 9, 2021

The world’s most prominent mixed martial arts promotion has joined the American Gaming Association with some other major sports leagues.

Officials recently announced that the UFC has joined the AGA’s public service campaign: “Have A Game Plan. Bet Responsibly.”

As part of the partnership, the UFC will devote resources from its in-venue, digital, and broadcast assets. They’ll use those resources to promote co-branded marketing materials with UFC themes “to encourage responsible sports betting,” according to the announcement.

About the American Gaming Association Campaign

The AGA launched the “Have A Game Plan. Bet Responsibly.” campaign in 2019.

Currently, 25 US states and Washington, DC, have legalized sports betting. In all, 21 are already operational. And MMA fans come from all of those states and from every walk of life.

“We’re thankful to see this campaign grow as progressive leagues like UFC lend their considerable voice to this important effort,” AGA President and CEO Bill Miller stated. “UFC’s commitment is important to engage, educate and encourage their fans – some of whom may be placing bets for the first time – to wager responsibly.”

The Las Vegas-based UFC now joins the AGA campaign with NASCAR, the National Hockey League (NHL), and the PGA Tour. DC-based Monumental Sports and Entertainment, the NHL’s Vegas Golden Knights, and FanDuel are also official campaign partners.

A sport built for sports betting

As UFC President Dana White said of the AGA partnership:

“We have the most passionate, die-hard fans of any sport and they love to bet on UFC, but it’s important they do it responsibly. We’re proud to work with the AGA and get behind this campaign to encourage our fans to make smart decisions and promote responsible gaming.”

White isn’t kidding about that passion. MMA supporters tend to be fanatics, and UFC fans specifically can be rabid with their love for the combat sport.

The UFC usually holds a cagefighting event each Saturday night. Fight nights include 10-15 bouts and 6-8 hours of nonstop live programming. Many fans watch the entire card and sit through countless commercials. Lately, many of those pitches involve legal Virginia sportsbooks, including DraftKings, which inked a $350 million deal with the UFC earlier this year.

MMA fans bet. Dana White, a multi-millionaire and self-proclaimed “degenerate” gambler who once lost $1 million while wagering on a boxing match, also bets. UFC commentators bet and make no secret of it. Even fighters bet, on themselves and on fellow fighters.

Betting and MMA going hand in hand. Therefore, it’s smart for the UFC to make a formal effort toward responsible gambling.

Additionally, the UFC has long sought credibility and clout. Along those lines, it could do a lot worse than aligning itself with the NHL, NASCAR, and other leagues on a worthy AGA campaign.

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Dann Stupp

Dann Stupp is a longtime sports journalist who’s written and edited for The Athletic, USA Today, ESPN and other outlets. He lives in Lexington, Virginia.

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