Ultimate Fighting Championship, which airs on Fox and Fuel TV, has been warned by a major sponsor to clean up its fighters’ mouths, Advertising Age reports. The warning from Anheuser-Busch comes after advocacy groups criticized some comments as sexist and homophobic.
"If the incidents continue, we will act," the brewer said in a statement, without specifying how it might act. The company added that it "embraces diversity and does not condone insensitive and derogatory comments rooted in ethnicity, race, religion, sexual orientation, gender identity, disability, etc."
The UFC increasingly is going mainstream, with its long-term Fox deal to air live prime-time bouts and support from big advertisers, the story notes.
"With over 425 athletes on our roster, there have unfortunately been instances where a couple athletes have made insensitive or inappropriate comments. We don’t condone this behavior, and in no way is it reflective of the company or its values," UFC said in response to the concerns, the story notes.
One incident that has been cited by the National Center on Domestic and Sexual Violence is a UFC press conference during which one fighter referred to charges of child sexual abuse against former Penn State coach Jerry Sandusky, the story notes. The fighter told a rival, "I’m going to put those hands on you worse than that dude did them other kids at Penn State," the piece reports.