The recent indictment of the owners of three prominent gambling sites, most notably Full Tilt Poker, and the subsequent shutdown of their respective web domains has had far-reaching consequences on the mixed martial arts industry.
"The UFC had a huge new sponsorship deal on the table with Full Tilt that will now go out the window with the feds bust."
Apparently, UFC was entering into a rather significant partnership with Full Tilt that would have meant a large influx of money into the sport of MMA, obviously making it much easier to make a living for fighters, some of which are currently scrapping for crumbs.
When contemplating the nature of these events, it's interesting to note that UFC has long struggled to obtain mainstream sponsors. Full Tilt represented exactly that but will these legal troubles cast a shadow over the sport of MMA?
There's no questioning the immeasurable impact this government crackdown on illegal Internet gambling has had on the poker industry. Major deals with mega media outlets like ESPN are falling through at a record pace.
The effect this will have on MMA, however, is less clear. The fact that one of the largest sponsors of the sport has been revealed to be a shady company that tricked banks into processing illegal gambling proceeds does not look good for the sport as a whole.
While that's certainly a topic up for debate, what isn't is how much money is now no longer in the pockets of the fighters that drive the sport month in and month out.
Sponsors come and sponsors go but for a brand that has found difficulty in attaching itself to the major players, this is a blow felt deeply by all involved.