From the Desk of Scotty Nelson
Culinary Union: Greed & Loathing in Las Vegas | Union targets OTM to attack UFC
If the English language ever adds the word "corrobsession" to the dictionary, then we will all have the Culinary Workers Union, Local 226 (Culinary Union of Las Vegas) to thank for the inclusion. It would be word used to simply describe an obsession laced with corruption.
Last year, the Las Vegas Review-Journal published an article detailing the 100s of 1000s of dollars that the Culinary Union has been wasting each year in order to stoke the flames of their mindless obsession with the Station Casinos and anyone or anything accociated with them.
In that article, it outlines how the Culinary Union has been targeting and harrassing Hispanic entertainers who perform at Station Casinos. They have tagreted Subway, Capriotti's Sandwich Shop, and Bagel Cafe, which have branches in Station Casinos. They have also contacted country singer Toby Keith, who performed at Red Rock Resort.
Now you can include On The Mat (OTM) to the list of companies or entities that is being targeted by the Culinary Workers Union, Local 226. OTM was established in 1996 by myself (Scotty Nelson) and my friend Alan "Gumby" Marques to help spread the love of Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu (BJJ) and Mixed Martial Arts (MMA). I literally sold everything I owned back in the 90's to move to Brazil, train full-time, and record and share top matches with my mentor, the late great Oswaldo Paquetá.
Through my DVD's, website (OnTheMat.com), and relationships in the sport, I was finally able to live my dream by establishing a chain of retail fight shops in 2006. This coincided with the MMA boom directly attributed to the success of the UFC's hit reality show "The Ultimate Fighter", which made it's sport-changing debut in 2005.
Not only did this show help save the UFC, but it increased the sport's fanbase and public interest to such a degree, that I was now able to open retail fight shops specializing in BJJ gis, MMA gear, competition DVD's, and anything related to this wonderful sport. OTM Fight Shops can now be found all over California, Las Vegas, and Albuquerque, but none of this would have ever been possible if it weren't for the millions of dollars, endless hours of work, and undying faith that Frank Fertitta III, Lorenzo Fertitta, and Dana White had in this sport we love.
After the shops began to open and I began to make more money, I was then able to sponsor many of my friends, who were just making a name for them self in the UFC. Fighters such as B.J. Penn, Diego Sanchez, Kenny Florian, Nick Diaz, Nate Diaz, and many more had been friends of mine and OTM since their early days competing in grappling and jiu-jitsu tournaments. Now I was able to help sponsor and support many of them and see them succeed in MMA under the global spotlight of the UFC.
Many of you may already know this, but it was necessary to reiterate due to the piece of mail my business just received in September. I would have posted something about this sooner, but when you work in the retail business and receive mail from the Culinary Union of Las Vegas, you tend to put that mail on the back-burner and tend to more pertinent business at hand.
Now that I have looked over this mail, I must say my first reaction to ignore opening it in September was the better idea. Inside, the Culinary Union of Las Vegas basically ripped apart the sport I love, attacked many of my friends, and asked us to sever ties with them and the UFC... the same people and company who helped grow the sport we love and get me where I am today.
Here is the scanned PDF of the letter that was sent to OTM. Inside they attack Chad Mendes, who is a close friend and training partner of Urijah Faber. Faber and Team Alpha Male aren't just tremendous customers of OTM, they are longtime friends. They then went on to attack Ian McCall, Jason "Mayhem" Miller, Dana White, and Quinton "Rampage" Jackson. McCall is a great customer and one of the more beloved figures in the sport. Mayhem is a longtime supporter of my company and a personal friend, who I did some work with on his MTV show "Bully Beatdown". Rampage is a big supporter of OTM, appeared in many of the OTM Fight Shop commercials, and is a personal friend of mine. Dana White is the main reasons why the UFC and MMA is where it's at today. Has personally given me press passes, free tickets, personal advice and supported our booming busines!
At first, I wanted to send the Culinary Union a quick message back: "I have no interest in killing my business and losing my friends, simply in the name of supporting your corrupt, greed-driven, and completely unrelated agenda."
Instead, I decided to contact Brandon Zundel, who is the UFC Territorial Sales & Key Accounts Manager. I figured this would be good to give us a chuckle at the end of a long work day and I was right. Here is what he had to say:
"Let me get this straight . . . an entity, with whom OTM does no business & has no relationship is now asking OTM to embargo the very business that indirectly put OTM on the map?! Not to mention, they’re request includes you sever lifelong personal relationships!? There’s ridiculousness and then there’s this, what they’re asking. Does this mean I should cancel all the open Holiday PO’s? Bummer, I was hoping we could get some non-union teppanyaki after they shipped."
Now, you may be wondering what is the cause for the Culinary Union's obsession with the UFC? Over the past decade, the Culinary Union has been trying to unionize at least half of the Station Casinos' 13,000 employees. However, over this same period of time, Station Casinos have continually ranked (2005-2008) in Fortune's "Top 100 Best Companies To Work For."
One of the key reasons for this, beyond the competitive pay and top benefits, is the fact that the company also helps employees learn another language or gain citizenship. Their employees were so pleased with their treatment by the Station Casinos, that they didn't feel the need to unionize, even after Station Casinos filed for Bankruptcy in 2009 and then exited Bankruptcy in 2011.
Now as random as it may seem, the union's main target in it's greed-driven vendetta against Station Casions is UFC parent-company Zuffa LLC. This is due to the fact that Frank Fertitta III and Lorenzo Fertitta, who own 45% of Station Casinos through Fertitta Gaming, are also Zuffa's majority owners.
The union already unsuccessfully spent precious resources trying to claim that the UFC is violating U.S. anti-trust laws and filed a Federal Trade Commission complaint.
This complaint failed miserably and wasted 1,000s of dollars of their own union member's dues. The definition of "monopoly" is the market condition existing when only one economic entity produces a product or provides a particular service. This desperate attack could have been avoided simply by running a search on any MMA website to see that Bellator, ONE FC, M-1 Global, King of the Cage, and various organizations on HDNet (now known as AXS TV) also provide and promote MMA events. There is no "single seller" or monopoly of MMA.
Last year, right around the time of their failed anti-trust complaint, the union then decided to embark on a smear campaign against UFC president Dana White. They launched a basic "blogger" site called UnfitForChildren.org, which mocks the same three-letter accronym used by the UFC and lists dozens of profanity-laced public comments made by the always candid Dana White. In other words, the Culinary Union won't let blatant pettiness and sheer desperation get in the way of them wasting more of their union worker's hard-earned money and annual dues.
The Culinary Union's most successful and equally corrupt tactic against Zuffa to date has only prevented MMA from being showcased at Madison Square Garden in New York City. More importantly, it has prevented millions of dollars of revenue from being pumped into America's most populated city. The Culinary Union's New York affiliate has repeatedly lobbied against the state legalizing MMA events. The issue has been pending in the New York General Assembly for a few years now.
Ironically, the Culinary Union of Las Vegas is one of the main benefactors of the UFC. While their constituents in New York have been unable to reap the rewards in the form of a massive economic windfall that occurs in the cities that host UFC events, the Las Vegas based union is fully aware of it. This past July, UFC 148 - Silva vs. Sonnen 2 brought in roughly $50 million dollars to the local Las Vegas economy. Coincidentally, the event took place at the MGM Grand, which is a unionized casino. While, the Culinary Union's delusions and greed may allow them to bite the hand that feeds them, OTM does not suffer from the same debilitating and asinine flaws and will not do the same.
PS. Hey Cullinary Union next time you want to persuade someone, try throwing in some gift cards for free food at all those resturants you control. It might give your message some more umph cause I'd be starving with out the UFC!!
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