ESPN: No More UFC Ads

ESPN sent out this memo today:

Effective immediately, Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) ads are no longer accepted on the Disney & ESPN family of networks.  UFC ads are a direct violation of our Affiliate agreements “Affiliate shall not insert into the ESPN network advertisements or promotions of any sports program.”  Please contact your programming colleagues for complete advertising restrictions.  ESPN is not accepting these ads on a national level, and the same restrictions apply for our local Affiliates.  Thank you for your cooperation and immediate attention to this matter.

As Buck Woodward on pwinsiderxtra noted, it is some recognition of MMA as a sport in the traditional sense, but could there be more to it?  ESPN has recognized the growth and cleaning up of MMA organizations on programs like SportsCenter and Outside the Lines.  With the success of UFC on pay per view and Spike TV, is ESPN in the process of creating their own MMA program and/or affiliation with an MMA organization?  Is this memo an early call to stop advertising the competition?

UFC

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