With pressure rising from advocacy groups directed towards the behavior of UFC fighters, a new code of conduct was announced today by the Ultimate Fighting Championship. Get all the details from today's press conference below.
Well, it looks like today's timing for an Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) code of conduct couldn't have been any better.
In advance of Saturday night's UFC on FOX 6 event, which goes down from the United Center in Chicago, Illinois, several advocacy groups signed a letter sent to the world's largest mixed martial arts (MMA) promotion demanding that Quinton Jackson be removed from the fight card.
Read the full letter here.
As you may remember, Jackson has a pretty dodgy history with his antics, including the PR nightmare "how to pick up a gurl fast" video, which suggested wearing ski masks and using chloroform.
Thankfully, the UFC was ahead of the curve, announcing today the implementation of a new code of conduct, headed by former welterweight champion and newly retired Hall of Famer Matt Hughes, who's taken over the job of Vice President of Athlete Development and Government Relations.
UFC Executive Lawrence Epstein explained the new code of conduct at the beginning of today's UFC on FOX 6 pre-fight press conference:
"It's really two announcements....(Hughes new job) and the second thing is the implementation of a written code of conduct for UFC athletes. As you think about these two announcements, you have to think about them as one. There's gonna be a huge connection with what Matt does and our new code of conduct. One comment on the code of conduct just to take care of that, it really isn't something that's new, just something that frankly for the first time has been put in writing. We've always felt that our athletes need to live up to a high level of conduct and make sure everything they're doing obviously both inside the Octagon and outside is in compliance with the high standards of the UFC."
So, how exactly did the UFC come to this decision?
Many in the media have been asking for specifics and for a written code of conduct for quite a while now, particularly after what many felt were insensitive rape jokes told by stars like Forrest Griffin, Rashad Evans and Miguel Torres, the latter of which found him released from the promotion.
Even newly crowned women's bantamweight champion Ronda Rousey has come under fire for directing her followers to check out a Sandy Hook conspiracy video.
Epstein explained the model further:
"This whole situation really started frankly when we took a look at the sports landscape and looked at what all the other major sports leagues were doing like the NFL, Major League Baseball, NHL, et cetera. We also took a look at what some of the associations are doing. I think as many of you know, UFC's relationship with athletes is an independent contractor relationship. It's not like the relationship in the NFL where they're actually employees of the team. We looked at some of those organizations that had similar legal models and what we discovered was those organizations had an individual who was responsible for what they call athlete development and what we're calling athlete development also. The role of that person was first and foremost to be a mentor, to try and provide experience to hopefully keep guys out of trouble and stop guys from making mistakes that could affect both their career and could tarnish the image of mixed martial arts and the UFC."
Once there is an actual guideline on paper, it will hopefully make things considerably more fair for fighters and the promotion won't simply be able to pick and choose punishments at their own discretion.
Do you think this is a step in the right direction, Maniacs? More on today's announcement here.