Dec 19, 2012, 2:21 PM EDT
Following petitions charging some Ultimate Fighting Championship participants as being “sexist and pro-violence”, the U.S. Marines have allowed their sponsorship contract with UFC to expire, according to Stars and Stripes. The decision came five months after the Nevada-based UNITE HERE union, forming a coalition of veterans, gay rights advocates and anti-violence organizations, launched a campaign to convince the Corps to sever ties with UFC.
Sen. Daniel Inouye, D-Hawaii, who died on Monday, was a supporter of the union. Inouye was a Medal of Honor recipient who served in the U.S. Army during World War II. The union is next setting its sights on Anheuser-Busch to break with the UFC.
In an email sent to the site Government Executive on Monday, spokesman Maj. John Caldwell said in part:
“The Marine Corps continues to stress strong personal values in markets that are viewed by young men and women who are interested in military service
Marines Corps spokesman Caldwell placed the decision in the context of new planning guidance issued by the commandant, Gen. James Amos, “that we will ‘improve diversity representation throughout our Corps.’ ”
The UFC, which has received $4.5 million in sponsorship revenue from the Marine Corps, claims that the cancellation has more to do with union organizing efforts than with ideology. But there is no doubt that the UFC has a lot of work to do when it comes to its image. And when Daniel Inouye lent his name to the cause against the league, it was basically game over. UFC fighters may be tough, but no one messes with a real war hero.
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