The U.S. Marine Corps has reportedly ended its sponsorship of the Ultimate Fighting Championship, citing “evolving mission requirements” just months after Congressional members sought to end all military sports partnerships.
Stars and Stripes reports that the contract with UFC expired on Nov. 30 and the funds were assigned elsewhere, according to Maj. John Caldwell, a spokesman for Marine Corps Recruiting Command.
“Due to evolving mission requirements, budgetary constraints, marketing analysis and the recommendation of our contracted advertising agency, resources previously allocated to the endeavor have been applied to alternate priorities,” Caldwell told the newspaper.
Recruiters are seeking to expand advertising and engagement opportunities to attract a more diverse and representative group of Marines, particularly officers.
“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,” Caldwell said.
The veterans committee of UNITE HERE — a union that represents 250,000 hotel, food service, restaurant, textile, industrial laundry and gaming industry workers — said values were the center of their argument against the partnership between the Marine Corps and UFC.
“This action by the Marine Corps is a step in the right direction,” said Nancy Parrish, president of Protect Our Defenders, a national group for survivors of military sexual assault. “Military culture for too long has permitted degrading, violent and hate-filled speech and behavior towards men and women.”