Sunday MMA Quick Hits: UFC Fighters Banned from Betting, Flat-Earther Mitchell Wants to Debate Rogan

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Bryce Mitchell, UFC 272
Bryce Mitchell, UFC 272 media day Credit: Gabriel Gonzalez/Cageside Press

The UFC has finally gotten around to banning its athletes from betting on fights, in what was thought to be a no-brainer. Speaking of no-brainers (apologies over the low blow), Bryce Mitchell wants to debate Joe Rogan over the Earth being flat. Seriously. Plus ONE Championship and the PFL announce some big broadcast deals. That and more in this week’s Sunday MMA Quick Hits!

Bryce Mitchell Wants to Debate Joe Rogan Over Flat Earth Theory

Ladies and gentleman, Bryce Mitchell.

We’d like to believe that this is just Mitchell’s way of landing a guest spot on the Joe Rogan Experience. Unfortunately that’s probably not the case. The undefeated featherweight has long been an outspoken figure, and more power to him on that. It’s just a shame he’s fallen off the map (ba dum tiss!) on this one.

UFC Bans Fighters, Coaches, Corners from Betting on Fights

It’s almost comical that this wasn’t already established, but no, UFC fighters should not be betting on UFC fights.

The promotion recently updated its Athlete Code of Conduct, a rarely enforced document quite frankly, to make this explicit. The update, first reported by Yahoo! Sports, reads as follows:

Athletes are prohibited from placing any wagers (directly or through a third party) on any UFC match, including placing any wagers on themselves. In most states with legalized sports betting, wagering by an athlete (directly or through a third party) on any MMA match put on by a promoter with which they are affiliated is illegal and may result in criminal sanction. Athletes should also be aware that in most states these same prohibitions apply to some or all of (i) relatives living in the same household as the athlete, (ii) an athlete’s coaches, managers, handlers, athletic trainers, medical professionals and staff, and (iii) any other person with access to non-public information regarding participants in any MMA match. An athlete that becomes aware of has knowledge of any wagering in violation of these restriction must immediately notify UFC of such incident in accordance with this UFC Athlete Conduct Policy.

While it may seem odd not to allow fighters to bet on teammates or even on themselves to win, the principle behind it is that athletes may have insider info when it comes to opponents. With MMA being such a small world and “spies” in training camps having been an issue in the past, any news of injury or ailment floating between camps could give someone an edge — while the greater public could be completely in the dark.

Ilir Latifi Gets Temp Suspension for Staph Shenanigans

Following his win over Aleksei Oleinik earlier this month, Ilir Latifi revealed in his in-cage interview that he’d opted to compete with a staph infection.

Oops.

Staph is highly contagious, with the infection caused by the Staphylococcus genus of bacteria. Staph infections can be serious, even deadly — ergo athletic commissions do not allow combat sports competitors to compete with them.

As a result, the Nevada Athletic Commission has handed Latifi a temporary suspension, noting that the incident displayed “behavior that cannot be tolerated” from a professional fighter, per a report by MMA Fighting. Latifi and the commission are reportedly working to reach an adjudication agreement in terms of punishment, which should put a final timeframe on his suspension.

Dana White’s Slap Fighting League Approved by NSAC

Who asked for this?

A “Slap Fighting” promotion being launched by UFC President Dana White has been granted approval by the NSAC. The Nevada Athletic Commission approved the proposed league via vote this past Tuesday at the commission’s monthly meeting.

ESPN was first to report the news.

Slap fighting involves two competitors standing opposite one another and… well, slapping one another as hard as they can. In the face. That’s it. UFC Chief Business Officer Hunter Campbell is part of the ownership group behind the new promotion, along with White.

The outfit is going by the name Power Slap League and will feature rules and weight classes based on MMA. But you know, with just slapping.

Maybe they can sign the Diaz brothers.

PFL Announces Broadcast Deal with DAZN, Founding of PFL Europe

The PFL has signed on with DAZN to air its PFL Europe events in, well, Europe. Makes sense.

PFL Europe will launch in 2023, and is being described (in a recent press release, anyhow) as “the first regional league ever from a global provider of MMA.” PFL Europe will be a joint venture between DAZN and the PFL, making it a founding partner, as well as the exclusive broadcaster in 53 markets. Those include the United Kingdom, Ireland, and Spain.

“PFL Europe is the beginning of the Champions League of MMA from PFL” said Peter Murray, CEO of PFL in a press release announcing the news. “We are excited to have DAZN as our strategic media rights distribution partner in Europe for all of fight franchises – PFL Global League, PFL Challenger Series, PFL Europe, and PFL PPV Super Fight Division.”

ONE Championship Announces Brazilian Broadcast Deal with Combate

The UFC recently announced an end to its partnership with Combate in Brazil, opting instead to focus on UFC Fight Pass in the South American nation. With Dana White and co. going their own way, ONE Championship has stepped in to provide MMA content to the outlet.

The multi-year agreement kicks off in 2023 and will see 12 events air in Brazilian prime time annually. Combate, owned by parent company Globo, had long been the broadcast home of the UFC.

“This multi-year agreement will give our Brazilian fanbase the opportunity to connect with ONE like never before as we present a minimum of 12 primetime events each year,” ONE CEO and Chairman Chatri Sityodtong said in a press release. “Brazil is one of the most passionate combat sports regions in the world, and with a best-in-class partner like Globo distributing our content, we will be able to reach the widest audience possible in an extremely important market for ONE.”

Cageside Live, and Interviews Galore

In case you missed it, catch up with Cageside Live, and some of our top interviews with regional fighters from the past week!

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