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Monday, October 08, 2007

Ohio's Official Gov't Web Site: Fight Promoters On Selling $50 Tickets

CINCINNATI (TDB) -- A state agency is allowing Las Vegas-based Ultimate Fighting Championships, a private company that stages martial arts slugfests, to use its portal on as a spot to advertise ticket sales for an upcoming bout in Cincinnati. The Athletic Commission of Ohio appears to be promoting Ultimate Fighting Championships, an arrangement that might be viewed as being in conflict with the commission's regulatory responsibilities. On the other hand, the arrangement could also be seen as a creative effort to take advantage of state's presence on the Web. The goal: Help stimulate interest in an event that could draw a large and enthusiastic Saturday night crowd to downtown Cincinnati.

You can see the full-text of the promotional material as it appears on Ohio's publicly funded state website. It is not clear if the athletic commission, which used to be called the boxing commission, is receiving payment for running the advertisements aimed at selling tickets to the October 20 event. UFC is a registered trademark and the organization's material says:

"The entity of the UFC (Ultimate Fighting Championship) is the world's leading mixed martial arts sports association, formed in January 2001 by Zuffa LLC. The UFC features a strong ownership and a depth of management experienced across a spectrum of live entrainment sports, television production and ancillary business development. The New UFC is positioned well to be the standard bearer for the evolving and exciting sport of mixed martial arts."

Mixed martial arts is a combat sport where fighters use everything from judo to wrestling, boxing and kickboxing to gain advantage in supervised matches. It is becoming increasingly popular as a spectator sport. The Cincinnati matches will be carried on pay per view TV from U.S. Bank Arena, which seats a live gate of about 18,000. Information about UFC is here. Wikipedia has compiled some data about Zuffa LLC.

Bottomline: The Athletic Commission may be on to something by partnering with the organization staging the fight. Other boards and commissions may want to sell space or sponsorships -- drugmakers on the Pharmacy Board, law firms on the Supreme Court site, boat manufacturers and marinas on the Department of Natural Resources.

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