One of the
Ultimate Fighting Championship’s most prominent sponsors has
voiced its concern over a series of remarks made by UFC talent in
the public forum.
Anheuser-Busch, the maker of Bud Light and Bud Light Lime, recently
issued a statement to Advertising Age detailing the brewer’s
disapproval over several fighter comments.
“We’ve communicated to the UFC our displeasure with certain remarks
made by some of its fighters, and they have promised to address
this. If the incidents continue, we will act,” the company told
Advertising Age. “[Anheuser-Busch] embraces diversity and does not
condone insensitive and derogatory comments rooted in ethnicity,
race, religion, sexual orientation, gender identity, disability,
The statement comes after comments made by former world champions
Torres and Rashad
Evans last winter. Griffin and Torres made jokes about rape on
Twitter; Evans referenced the Jerry Sandusky sexual abuse
allegations while hyping his UFC on Fox 2 headliner against Penn
State alum Phil
While Griffin and Evans were spoken to by UFC President Dana White
about their comments, no disciplinary action was taken against the
light heavyweights. Griffin later apologized and reportedly made a
donation to a local rape crisis center.
“I like to cause trouble. I like to stir the pot and I like to make
a mess of things, but I really do not want to be mean or malicious
to anyone,” Griffin told Las Vegas ABC affiliate KTNV in November.
“I feel bad. I want to apologize. I feel like I should be punished
a little bit. Maybe other professional athletes or just guys in
locker rooms can kind of be more sensitive towards the topic of
rape. Once you take the comments in the light of day, you feel
disgusted by it, but at the time, you don’t think.”
Torres was released by the promotion following his now-infamous
“rape van” tweet. After issuing a public apology and speaking
one-on-one with White, Torres was rehired.
The UFC released a statement of its own to Advertising Age
concerning its fighters’ use of social media.
“With over 425 athletes on our roster, there have unfortunately
been instances where a couple athletes have made insensitive or
inappropriate comments,” the Las Vegas-based promotion stated. “We
don’t condone this behavior, and in no way is it reflective of the
company or its values.
“As an organization, we are progressive in social media and, unlike
most other sports leagues, we encourage our athletes to engage
online,” the statement continued. “It is part of our company
culture, and whenever you are at the forefront of a trend or
initiative, it comes with its own pitfalls. We will continue to
embrace social media while looking for better ways to stay in front
of the issues. This includes a mandate for our athletes to attend
sensitivity training and a seminar on proper use of social
The actions of Quinton
Jackson were also a topic of discussion in the online community
after the former light heavyweight champ participated in a video
promoting Internet-based television provider FilmOn.com. The
90-second video, “How to Pick Up a Gurl -- Fast,” features Jackson
attempting to rape a woman in a parking lot, only to be thwarted
and then attacked by the victim, who is revealed to be
In the past, White and UFC commentator Joe Rogan have also been
brought to the forefront of the discussion after making separate
derogatory remarks about two female members of the media, as well
as using the word “faggot” to publicly express disdain for certain
individuals. Both instances, among others, are outlined by a
January letter sent to New York State assembly members by the
National Center on Domestic and Sexual Violence urging the Empire
State to maintain its ban on professional mixed martial arts.
Anheuser-Busch became a UFC sponsor in 2008 and renewed its
contract with the promotion last year in a deal that increased Bud
Light’s exposure on UFC broadcasts. The beer brand now “presents”
four pay-per-views annually and partners with the UFC to promote
one “special” event per year, most recently UFC Fight
Night 25 this past September.