Thursday, March 26, 2009

UFC May Juggle Online Poker Sponsors, by Dan Cypra - Poker News Daily - 25th March 2009

The Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) may be ousting Full Tilt Poker as a sponsor, according to multiple sources. In its place, according to, could be Absolute Poker, which is owned by Tokwiro, also the parent company of Ultimate Bet. Full Tilt continues to have affiliate banners in place on the UFC's website. revealed in a post dated on March 23rd, "We received word from multiple inside sources that Full Tilt Poker is 'banned' from the UFC as a sponsor in the octagon or on its fighters. Whether or not this ban is permanent or temporary is not yet known." Gus Hansen, a Full Tilt Pro, recently battled Theo Jorgensen in Copenhagen inside a boxing ring, displaying the edge of the online poker site and some of its pros. In the end, however, he was bested by Jorgsensen.

The advertisement on UFC's website for Full Tilt Poker shows Phil Ivey saying, "I work on my game at Full Tilt Poker." In the place of Full Tilt, speculated that one of the two Tokwiro-owned rooms would become its newest sponsor. It explained, "It appears as if UltimateBet’s sister site, Absolute Poker, will be part of this deal, although we’re awaiting confirmation. The real shame here is the UFC is screwing over its fighters yet again. Full Tilt was spending good money on sponsorships, and limiting the competition does them no favors."

When approached by Poker News Daily, officials from Ultimate Bet and Absolute Poker could not confirm a potential partnership with UFC. Ultimate Bet is the official sponsor of World Wrestling Entertainment's (WWE) WrestleMania XXV in Houston, sending one lucky customer to the annual spectacle. A total of 317 players entered the final online qualifier, with Alex Cummings emerging victorious from the pack. He took home two tickets to the event in Houston, round trip airfare, three nights' hotel accommodation, CDN $500 in spending money, two replica WWE championship belts, a framed poster, and a pair of commemorative chairs. It was a once in a lifetime opportunity for the Ultimate Bet member.

On sponsoring WrestleMania, Ultimate Bet's own Annie Duke told Poker News Daily, "“As two organizations concerned with providing the ultimate entertainment experience, our Canadian partnership with WWE WrestleMania XXV is a natural fit. Our players are among the millions of loyal and avid watchers of WWE and it’s a privilege for us to give them the chance to play poker to win their way to be part of this marquee event on April 5, while also adding to’s reputation for delivering much sought-after prizes.”

On April 18th, UFC will present UFC 97: Redemption, with a headliner of Anderson “The Spider” Silva against Thales Leites. In addition, Chuck "The Iceman" Liddell will battle toe to toe with Brazilian superstar Mauricio "Shogun" Rua. The festivities will take place inside the Bell Centre in Montreal. On May 23rd, UFC 98 will feature a fight between Rashad Evans and Lyoto Machida. Poker players in Las Vegas will be able to stroll over to the MGM Grand Garden Arena to watch the action unfold in person when the event kicks off at 7:00pm local time.

Full Tilt Poker is gearing up for the release of the schedule for its 12th Full Tilt Online Poker Series (FTOPS). The slate of events is anticipated to be unveiled today, although at the time of writing, no announcement has been made. Last week, the online poker site ran the first installment of its Friday Night Fights, which pitted Andy Bloch against Gus Hansen. Both are card-carrying members of Team Full Tilt, with Bloch coming out the victor after connectivity issues slowed the action early on. The match-up for this Friday has not been announced. The site regularly holds a Friday Night Fight $500 Knockout tournament that boasts a guaranteed prize pool of $75,000. The $535 buy-in means that each player has a $100 bounty on their head, making it a unique tournament.

On Sundays, Full Tilt runs the Sunday Brawl, another high-stakes bounty tournament with a healthy $350,000 up for grabs. The $256 buy-in sends $200 to the prize pool, $16 to Full Tilt, and $40 as a bounty on each player's head. The Sunday Brawl regularly attracts around 2,000 players, making it one of the largest recurring online poker tournaments in the world.

We'll have more news from the world of UFC as it develops right here on (Credit: Poker News Daily)

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