The UFC had been barred from German television since March of 2010 because of a ban ruling that the sport was “unacceptable” and “breaking taboos” But on Friday, that ban was officially lifted and annulled by the Administrative Court in Munich. The court ruled that the UFC is “generally suitable for broadcast” and that MMA is a “plausible sport”.
Furthermore, the Administrative Court ruled that the Bavarian State Media Authority (BLM) didn’t have the legal authority to bar programming that it found unsuitable.
When the initial ban was enacted, BLM head Dr. Wolfgang Flieger had some unsavory words for the UFC when discussing the ban.
“The Committee deems these television formats unacceptable by the sheer massiveness of the portrayed violence. In these shows you can witness acts of breaking taboos, such as hitting a downed opponent. These acts contradict the general principle of a public-service broadcasting … “
So, punching a downed opponent isn’t cool, but it’s alright when he’s standing up? Alright. That doesn’t sound like a way to shield boxing and damn MMA at all, now does it?
Garry Cook, UFC Chief Global Brand Officer, released a statement following the ruling.
“This verdict is a milestone for the UFC and for the many UFC fans in Germany. The court has confirmed that it was illegitimate to ban our broadcast programs. We always had confidence in the German market and felt a responsibility to grow the sport and satisfy demand – this is why we fought against this ban. We will continue to work intensively to bring events, content and original programming to German viewers.”
The BLM still has the opportunity to appeal the ruling.
On the surface, how ridiculous did this ban even seem? The UFC got straight-up banned on television for nearly five years by one governmental agency that thought it was “unacceptable”, yet a similar combat sport is allowed to thrive. At least this is hopefully in the rear-view mirror for the UFC, and they can get on with making waves in Germany.