MMAPayout.comhas the story:
MMAPayout.com has learned through sources that Full Tilt Poker has been put on the list of sponsors not allowed. The UFC sent word of the ban out on Monday via e-mail :
UNTIL FURTHER NOTICE, FULL TILT POKER WILL NOT BE ALLOWED FOR ANY UPCOMING EVENTS.
While MMAPayout has reported of a ban on Spike, this directive will apply to all cards and will apply to both the fighters as well as the company itself.
MMAPayout.com has written extensively on the curious path of Full Tilt Poker as it has made itself a premier sponsor for both fighters and the organization itself in the UFC. The UFC had for some time kept sportsbooks and online gambling/gaming businesses at arms length. Their being competition for the major Vegas casinos who hosted the UFC as well as their illegality in some situations made the UFC reticent to work with them. With a collapsing ad market, the UFC recently changed their informal policy and brought in Full Tilt as a top shelf sponsor for the fight company. Full Tilt has also become a major sponsor of fighters, with their logo being omnipresent on fighter hats, shorts, and T-shirts. The road seemed to have taken another turn, as MMAPayout.com learned that UFC television partner Spike TV has stepped in and nixed Full Tilt from being a sponsor on its’ airwaves.
Sources indicated the Spike embargo on Full Tilt would go into effect at UFC 95 card on Spike. The ban affected the UFC in it’s ability to have signage on the Octagon mat as well as naming rights on the replays during the broadcast. The ban didn’t look to affect the fighters, who were able to wear signage for the poker company on the card. This was thought to be phased out by the next Spike card in Nashville, though. Now the ban has been put in effect for all cards. While there was no explicit connection between the two in the e-mail quoted, the leap from one to the other seems related. There are unconfirmed reports that the cause may be a push from poker rival Ultimate Bet, to be the UFC sponsor, but the validity of these reports is in question at this point.
Full Tilt Poker has been able to skirt a federal ban on online gaming by the duality of their usage of the .net/.com brands. The .net brand is used for educational/entertainment purposes and is the brand that is advertised through all of the company’s media. The .com is the money site that would raise the ire of regulators, with the .com accessible through using the software from the .net.