BREAKING NEWS: U.S. Marine Corps did not renew sponsorship of Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC)

Las Vegas, Nevada – After a nationwide public outcry, the U.S. Marine Corps did not renew its sponsorship of the Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC), the Las Vegas-based promoter of cage fighting events.

“We applaud the Marine Corps for taking this important step that respects the dignity of our men and women in uniform,” said Beatriz Topete, a U.S. Army veteran and director of the Veterans Committee of UNITE HERE, a labor union that represents more than 250,000 workers in the hospitality industry in North America. “We believe it is time for other sponsors to follow the lead of the Marine Corps and sever all ties with the UFC.”

The decision by the Marine Corps follows months of outrage and media attention. Military veterans, LGBTQ activists and survivors of sexual assault publicly called on the Marine Corps to sever its ties with the UFC over violent, homophobic, misogynistic and otherwise socially irresponsible remarks made by UFC fighters and its president, Dana White. The campaign to end the UFC-Marine Corps partnership was supported by more than two dozen state and national organizations. They included the National Center on Domestic and Sexual Violence, Protect Our Defenders, National Institute of Military Justice, Veterans For Common Sense, Veterans For Peace, Veterans United For Truth, Women in the Military Project, and Sanctuary Project Veterans, as well as individual survivors of military sexual assault.

“This action by the Marine Corps is a step in the right direction. Military culture for too long has permitted degrading, violent and hate-filled speech and behavior towards men and women,” said Nancy Parrish, President of Protect Our Defenders, a national group that advocates for survivors of military sexual assault.

Popular UFC fighters have joked about rape on their public Twitter accounts, and made remarks that are demeaning towards women, gays and Latinos. In a disturbing video published in April on YouTube, UFC fighter Quinton “Rampage” Jackson pretends to sexually assault a woman in a parking garage using chloroform and zip ties. Jackson is scheduled to fight on the “UFC on FOX 6” event on Jan. 26th.

Other sponsors or business partners of the UFC include: Anheuser-Busch InBev, Edge Shaving Gel, Electronic Arts, FOX, Harley-Davidson Inc., MetroPCS Communications, MusclePharm, SafeAuto, Toyo Tires, TapouT, and XYIENCE Energy.

Montana UFC Delegation

“On July 12th, our local participated in the nationwide delegation to the United States Marine Corps Recruiting offices.  In attendance was our fearless leader, Executive Officer Mark Anderlik, the OBB interns, Rory and Shannon, as well as a local activist and Army veteran (Spec 4, Vietnam 1966-67, 4th Infantry) Mick Harsell. Upon our arrival both recruiters were polite but firm in stating that they had time demands elsewhere.  They allowed us five minutes and we took the time and ran with it. We made the ask, and reinforced our demands.  They declined to take the video material provided or the petitions but we were still able to make an impression on them.  They responded with a referral to their senior M.P.A. in Salt Lake City.  We have the contact information and will be doing some follow up. For Rory and I, our first delegation went as well as we could have expected it to.  We learned quite a bit and were able to sharpen our skills and think on our feet.  We enjoyed the opportunity to be a part of this nationwide campaign and look forward to more exciting actions to come!”

– Shannon (OBB Montana)

Photo: The Missoula USMC Delegation on July 12, 2012 before entering: (L-R) Mick Harsell, Spec 4, USA, 4th Division Vietnam 1966-7, retired APWU Postal Worker; Rory, OBB intern; Shannon, OBB intern.

Rally to Support Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid

On July 22, 2011 over fifty union and community members picketed congressional offices to support no cuts in benefits for people on Social Security, Medicaid, and Medicare. In Montana we believe that before this issue is even discussed in Congress, the wealthy and corporations must be made to pay their fair share of taxes.The federal budget deficit must not be reduced on the backs of the working class and those who can’t care for themselves!