Martial Arts Battle: Fox Sports VS. Gun Rights

Advertising Ban is a Political Statement – Intentional or Not

        Something is seriously wrong at Fox Sports, an affliction of political correctness that apparently affects the entire Fox Network.

          In response to overtures by gun companies to sponsor TV coverage of Ultimate Fighting Championship, or UFC, events, Fox Sports has declared, “Absolutely no firearms, ammo, hunting or knife companies will be permitted as sponsors in any Zuffa-promoted events.” Zuffa, LLC. is the parent company of the UFC and is credited with transforming Mixed Martial Arts, or MMA, contests from shady, regional tough-guy brawls into a recognized and respected multi-million dollar sporting category.

          At this point Zuffa has yet to weigh in directly on the controversial Fox policy, but a company representative explained the ban on firearms advertising isn’t just at Fox’s sports division.

          Fox Networks Group Senior Vice President of Communications Scott Grogin explains, “I can confirm for you that none of our national broadcast or cable networks accepts advertising from firearms/ammunition manufacturers or distributors.”

          Zuffa, which means “scuffle” in Italian, is primarily owned by Frank and Lorenzo Fertita, brothers who made their fortunes in the gaming industry as dominant partners in the Station casinos chain in Las Vegas. I’ve seen no indication of anti-gun bias from the Fertita brothers in their past media ventures, and it is common to see prominent UFC fighters including Rashad Evans, Shane Carwin, Brock Lesnar and Matt Hughes making personal appearances in gun company booths at major firearms industry trade shows and appearing on popular hunting programs.

           [Note: Zuffa, LLC. has announced a policy of restricting the sponsors individual fighters are allowed to promote.  For years fighters have struggled up the food-chain with the help of sponsors like “Ammo to Go” and “” in exchange for the company logo on the fighters’ shorts or baseball cap, but no more.  Apparently in an effort to be in full compliance with FOX advertising standards, no fighters can promote knife, gun, hunting, or ammo companies, nor can they promote sexually explicit or other socially unacceptable companies.  Such company logos on fighters shorts are now being “blurred” in replays of fights on FOX.]

           The National Shooting Sports Foundation, a firearms industry trade group, began complaining about the Fox policy last week on their blog site. They followed that up on Monday in their email newsletter with calls for their members and supporters to contact Fox Sports and urge them to rethink their irrational advertising prohibition.

           On its face the policy is economically stupid and morally hypocritical. Fox accepts advertising from beer and liquor companies along with ads from energy drink and other companies glamorizing high-risk, “don’t try this at home” type activities – all in support of extremely violent and dangerous programming like football, boxing and MMA fights.

           Meanwhile, the shooting sports are among the safest and most cerebral sporting activities, and are among the most popular pastimes in the U.S.  Hunting and shooting also generate billions of dollars each year for environmental and habitat conservation and restoration. No other recreational activity comes close to that record.

            Readers wishing to express concern about Fox Sports’ biased policies should contact Lou D’Ermilio, senior vice president at FSN Media Relations by email, or by calling 212-556-2573.

Guns Stop Criminals

Perhaps Fox should consider a new study from the Cato Institute, which looks at the real-world consequences when criminals and armed citizens meet. Co-authored by scholar/historian Clayton Cramer and David Burnett, who is the director of public relations for Students for Concealed Carry, the work is titled “Tough Targets, When Criminals Face Armed Resistance from Citizens.”

The conclusion, based on a thorough study of news accounts of armed confrontations over several years, is that when criminals and armed citizens meet, the criminals usually lose. The research shows that shots are rarely fired and that tragedies such as innocent bystanders being shot, guns being taken away and turned on their owners, or armed citizens being mistakenly shot by the police, virtually never happen.

Evidence also indicates that successful firearms defenses often go unreported to police, particularly when no shots are fired and no one is hurt, and the media provides scant coverage of such uneventful occurrences.

The authors also point out that one crime stopped by an armed citizen can be safely extrapolated to represent many other crimes that never happened because the criminal was either taken off the streets or decided to seek some other, less confrontational means of making a living.

The publication is available in print or electronic media from the CATO web site, where you can also find an interactive map detailing many of the actual events.

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