Money-laundering. Sex offences. Inappropriate online behaviour. Unlawful possession of a gun.
These are just some of the red flags identified in the UFC’s wide-ranging “fighter conduct policy.”
The mixed martial arts promoter announced in January that it had formalized the policy but did not release it at the time.
The policy was released after heavyweight Matt Mitrione was suspended indefinitely for verbally attacking transgender fighter Fallon Fox in an interview on The MMA Hour.
The UFC policy says fighters “shall conduct themselves in accordance with commonly accepted standards of decency, social conventions and morals, and fighters will not commit any act or become involved in any situation or occurrence or make any statement which will reflect negatively upon or bring disrepute, contempt, scandal, ridicule, or disdain to the fighter or the UFC.”
The policy lists potential potholes, noting “as the UFC’s highest profile independent contractors and as ambassadors of the sport of mixed martial arts, UFC fighters are held to a high standard by the UFC, the media and the public.”
After noting that criminal activity by a UFC fighter is “clearly detrimental to the reputation of the UFC and therefore subjects the fighter to discipline,” the policy then lists a lengthy list of transgressions that may also lead to discipline.
— Criminal offences including, but not limited to, those involving: the use or threat of violence; domestic violence and other forms of partner abuse; theft and other property crimes; sex offences; obstruction or resisting arrest; disorderly conduct; fraud; racketeering; and money-laundering.
— Criminal offences relating to performance-enhancing and prohibited substances, or substance abuse.
— Unlawful possession of a gun or other weapon.
— Conduct that imposes inherent danger to the safety or well-being of another person.
— Violent, threatening or harassing behaviour.
— Derogatory or offensive conduct, including without limitation insulting language, symbols, or actions about a person’s ethnic background, heritage, colour, race, national origin, age, religion, disability, gender or sexual orientation.
— Inappropriate physical, verbal, and online behaviour (such as inappropriate statements made via e-mail, text messaging or social networks).
— Conduct that undermines or puts at risk the organization or promotion of a UFC event, including without limitation, failure to deliver, engage in or otherwise execute any and all promotional responsibilities, or failure to return in a timely manner the accurate and complete documents or information for immigration, licensing, medical, tax or athletic commission purposes.
— Conduct that undermines or puts at risk the integrity and reputation of the UFC.
The policy calls for the UFC to investigate potential fighter misconduct, with input from the fighter and possibly medical experts, law enforcement officials and other relevant professionals.
Fighter misconduct prior to joining the UFC may also be considered.
But the UFC is judge and jury when it comes to the initial ruling.
“Upon conclusion of the investigation, UFC will have full authority to impose disciplinary measures on the fighter as warranted in its sole discretion,” the policy states.
“Discipline may take the form of fines, suspension, and cessation of service and may include conditions to be satisfied prior to the resolution of the incident.”
Fighters can appeal any sanctions via binding arbitration.
The UFC already holds considerable power over its fighters, since it controls the events they compete in. The UFC standard fighter contract also gives the organization the right to cut the athlete, depending on performance.
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