WSJ exposes 'Ultimate Dirty Fighters' in Albany


The Nevada-based Culinary Workers union Local 226 has for years failed in its attempts to unionize the Station group of hotel-casinos in Las Vegas. Station Casinos is owned by Frank and Lorenzo Fertitta, who are also majority owners of the UFC.

Although the UFC has nothing to do with culinary workers, and indeed provides a vast amount of union work at arenas across the nation, it has for years been a target of the union through a series of underhanded steps that meander from the harmful to the bizarre:
•Backed anti-MMA legislation in New York;
•Called on the Federal Trade Commission to investigate UFC parent company Zuffa;
•Launched a website complaining that UFC President Dana White swears a lot;
•Launched an online petition calling on FOX to back away from a deal to broadcast UFC events;
•Demanded Anheuser-Busch pull its Bud Light sponsorship of the UFC;
•Supported wacky MMA legislation in California;
•Demanded the Marine Corps cut ties with the UFC;
•Demanded that OTM cut ties with the UFC;
•Asked FOX to remove UFC lightweights Jeremy Stephens and Abel Trujillo from their UFC on FOX 5 fight for having a record;
•Petitioned Toys"R"Us CEO Gerald Storch to pull all UFC related toys from the company's stores; and,
•Sent letters denouncing the company to teachers at Bishop Gorman High School, where the Fertitta kids attend classes.

Mainstream media has largely allowed the union to set up false cover organizations that appear to be concerned groups of citizens worried about the UFC. The groupes are in fact simply covers for a organization that has zero interest in the UFC or mixed martial arts; their true motive is the $15,000,000 in union dues they would get from Station.

The Wall Street Journal is one of the first national media groups to, finally, expose the truth.

Mixed martial arts—which is heavily regulated by state athletic commissions—remains illegal in Connecticut and New York. The reason? Union politics in Nevada, of all places.

The Culinary Workers Union Local 226 of Las Vegas, which represents hotel and restaurant workers, has a long-standing vendetta against UFC CEO Lorenzo Fertitta because he and his brother Frank run casinos and hotels that aren't unionized. The union hasn't dared to run an organizing election on one of the Fertitta properties. But the union is still trying to leverage its political clout to stop UFC expansion wherever it can.

Enter Sheldon Silver, the boss of New York politics. Democrats dominate the state Assembly, and Mr. Silver of lower Manhattan dominates his fellow Democrats. He's been Speaker since 1994, and he's refused even to allow a vote on a bill to legalize mixed-martial arts in the state

The bill has passed the state Senate four years in a row only to be bottled up each time by Mr. Silver. Assembly Majority Leader Joseph Morelle is the bill's lead supporter and he has 63 co-sponsors out of 150 members. But even he can't get a vote past Mr. Silver, who won't explain his opposition.

UFC has tried to work behind the scenes, but it has more or less been told that the price of getting into New York is to bow to the culinary union. Specifically, the union wants the Fertitta brothers to declare their neutrality in any election and let the union onto their properties to organize via a non-secret "card check" tally. That means potentially subjecting employees to union intimidation, and the Fertittas have understandably refused.

Mr. Silver's obstinance is costing the New York economy, which could benefit from as many as 50 bouts a year. UFC estimates that only two fights, in Manhattan's Madison Square Garden and Buffalo's HSBC Arena, could generate as much as $16 million in business for the Empire State. The economically bereft upstate could use the jobs in particular.

Governor Andrew Cuomo has made supporting noises about UFC's request to enter the state, but as usual he refuses to take on a union, much less Mr. Silver. So it goes in New York, which desperately needs jobs but where union political extortion is nastier than anything you'll ever see in the Octagon.

Read entire article...


tags: UFC   union   


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Recent Comments »

Kneeblock site profile image  

4/29/13 9:48 PM by Kneeblock

Again, the ironing. Regardless of how awesome they are, Station isn't disallowing a vote on its workers unionizing to "protect them from intimidation." It's about protecting their bottom line. The trade seems simple: A vote for a vote. 63 co-sponsors is the limit of the votes ie not enough to pass. I live in ny and want mma here as much as anyone but both sides are engaging in propaganda and frankly most of ny doesn't care.

SRTGEO site profile image  

4/29/13 3:37 PM by SRTGEO

That's not what this is about or what this culinary union is doing regarding MMA in NY.

bakobell site profile image  

4/29/13 3:31 PM by bakobell

This one seems pretty evil to me. Chasing an organization across the United States out of pettiness over something in Nevada. This one sounds like it should be punished under RICO statutes. I work for a union and the best I can say about it is it is a necessary evil in a skilled trade type of work place. But a culinary union? Pfffffft.

KingofBJJ site profile image  

4/29/13 3:21 PM by KingofBJJ

Those EVIL unions. How dare they protect the rights of workers, at employer's expense?In fact all employees nation wide should show that we don't support the Union, starting with all of the things the Unions have done for employees. So lets get rid of:Paid vacation days.Sick leave payHoliday payFMLAOvertimeWorkplace Safety.Termination with cause (prevents employer from terminating you for no reason)Who needs that crap right? Come on folks, the employers have every reason to work us to death, while maximizing profits.Who's with me!?

ben236 site profile image  

4/29/13 3:07 PM by ben236

A card check DOES potentially subject employees to union intimidation. Because it would make the Union organizers completely aware of which employees signed up (and who want a union) and which ones didn't (and don't want a union). With 15 million in dues per year on the line, you don't think the Cullinary Union would do everything it could to target those employees who don't want a union and try to pressure them into signing?

SRTGEO site profile image  

4/29/13 2:28 PM by SRTGEO

Here's another article from the food goofs.

Jspec site profile image  

4/29/13 2:16 PM by Jspec

From things I read in the vegas papers. The employees of station casinos are given the option to vote and choose not to. Station casinos is also constantly voted as the best place to work in vegas for years.

6ULDV8 site profile image  

4/29/13 2:08 PM by 6ULDV8

Can anyone read the full WSJ article?     The Ultimate Fighting Championship is known for its mix of "karate, jiu-jitsu, boxing, kickboxing, grappling, wrestling, sumo and other combat sports," played in an "Octagon" cage between two impressively muscled fighters who win by "knockout, submission or decision." None of that has prepared UFC executives for the eye-gouges and below-the-belt punches of New York politics. Millions of Americans know UFC's mixed-martial arts from television and matches in arenas across the 48 states where its fights are legal. The sport has grown in popularity, especially among young men, and its events bring in hundreds of millions of dollars a year in ...   That's all I can get.

bakobell site profile image  

4/29/13 1:51 PM by bakobell

Posted before in another thread but still feel the same way.... Fuck New York. If they're owned by the unions let them have the unions and the UFC should go elsewhere. The UFC shouldn't have to beg to bring in tens of millions of dollars in revenue. They should take their business elsewhere and flip the bird to the cunts in New York.

robnashville site profile image  

4/29/13 1:50 PM by robnashville

voted you up kneeblock, good call on the WSJ not being a fair arbiter in this is a Murdoch paper, and is gonna slant that way.... despite having history with this issue, i don't find myself caring one way or the other whether they (UFC) get into NY, sort of chickens coming home to roost for a lot of the crappy stuff they have done RE: fighters...