For immediate release
July 12, 2012
Veterans Committee of UNITE HERE voices support for the "UFC Amendment" to ban military sponsorships of pro sports
WASHINGTON, Jul 12, 2012 (BUSINESS WIRE) — On Thursday, July 12, military veterans and their supporters will call on the U.S. Marines Corps to refrain from using taxpayer money to sponsor the Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC). They will deliver 5,000 petitions to Marine Corps recruiting stations in seven cities, including Boston, Chicago, Los Angeles, Miami, Phoenix, San Diego and Washington, D.C. as well as to the Commandant of the Marine Corps at the Marine Corps Barracks in Washington, D.C.
The veteran activists also will voice their support for a bipartisan amendment to the Department of Defense Appropriations Act (H.R. 5856) that would ban military spending on professional sports. The proposed ban – the "UFC Amendment" — would prohibit the use of taxpayer money to sponsor the UFC and other pro sports organizations.
The Marine Corps has spent more than $2 million sponsoring the UFC, the nation’s largest promoter of cage fighting events. The UFC is an organization that has tolerated people associated with it making jokes about rape, homophobic slurs and sexually explicit remarks that are demeaning towards women. For more information visit www.UnfitFortheCorps.org
"As a Marine, I am deeply offended that the Marine Corps would ever associate itself with organizations that tolerate homophobia and hate speech like the UFC," said Ryan Hand, a former Corporal of the Marine Corps and member of UNITE HERE New England Joint Board Local 406 in Saco, Maine. "As a taxpayer, our money can be better spent elsewhere, particularly as the Defense Department prepares deep cuts to the military."
In a letter to the Commandant of the Marine Corps, General James F. Amos, the Veterans Committee of UNITE HERE wrote, "We believe that, by aligning with the UFC, an organization that has tolerated homophobia, misogyny and hate speech, the Marine Corps is violating its stated commitment of `maintaining dignity and respect for one another.’ Homophobia and hatred, in any form, are not consistent with the values that make the Marines an elite fighting force."
Through its sponsorship of the UFC, the Marine Corps has trivialized service to our country by juxtaposing images of Marines fighting for our country with UFC fighters. (See an example here: http://tiny.cc/x6t8gw ) "Those men and women who have fought and risked their lives overseas in no way, shape or form resemble the bullies of the UFC," said Albert Bolduc, a U.S. Army National Guard veteran and member of UNITE HERE New England Joint Board Local 687T in Simsbury, Conn. "The UFC is the antithesis of what every service member should stand for — honor, discipline and self respect."
UNITE HERE is a union representing 250,000 workers in the hotel, food service and restaurant, textile, industrial laundry, and gaming industries in North America.