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11/16/11 5:57 PM
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Where Connecticut has laws governing boxing that are interpreted by the Attorney General as prohibiting MMA, in New York the sport is directly named and prohibited. There has been a long and extended effort by the MMA community, notably Zuffa, to lift the ban, but it has thus far been unsuccesssful.

Now Zuffa has filed a complaint that the MMA ban is unconstitutional.

A UGer who is an attorney read the complaint and provides a very brief summary below:

From: gatorlaw
Member Since: 11/25/10
Posts: 91

As promised, here's a *very* truncated version of the Zuffa's complaint - it's actually a really cool read just from the perspective of an MMA fan.

Zuffa is alleging several violations of the US constitution, including the First Amendment, Equal Protection Clause (14th Amd.), Due Process Clause (also 14th Amd.), and the Commerce Clause (Art. I Sec. 8 of the US Const.).

Argues that each *component* of mixed martial arts is legal. As a whole, MMA should be a sum of its parts. (Awesome argument btw)

Likens MMA to theater performance, violent video games, songs with violent lyrics, etc.

Discusses the origins of the sport and the poor marketing strategy of "There are no rules!" Talks about how modern MMA has evolved in every way from its origins.

Talks about the success of UFC and its contract with Fox as well as Belator's success and its new deal with Spike. Also touts TUF. Generally talks about how "mainstream" the sport has become.

Recounts the good ol' days in MSG with Frazier and Ali, Marciano and Louis. States that MSG has fallen and now merely hosts "viewing parties" of the sport.

Touts MMA's safety record as compared to boxing, football, and even equestrian sports and cheerleading (lol). States that the ban merely fosters underground events.

Perhaps most interesting in the entire complaint, it talks about the message of MMA and why fighters do what they do. This is where the expression argument comes in - they argue that fighters are demonstrating skills gained through a lifetime of training, practicing, and studying, just like any other performer or athlete. Argues that the ban silences that message and expression.

Goes on to discuss the parties to the complaint, most interesting of which is the fan, Joseph Lozito, who stopped that knife-weilding attacker on the subway. I'm sure you guys remember that. It talks about how Joe views MMA as an art form/entertainment and how the ban prohibits him from viewing the same live without traveling out of state.Goes on to discuss other fans, trainers, and athletes.

I'm not going to go into the causes of action too much, but they articulate that the ban is both facially unconstitutional and as it is applied to the parties, the ban is overbroad, the ban is vague, the ban allows the components of MMA but not the whole, the ban is irrational and violates substantive due process, the ban restricts interstate commerce, and lastly shit about a 2001 liquor law that I didn't want to read. (give me a break - it's on page 103).

Zuffa is seeking an injunction of the ban (make it stop), a declaration that the law is unconstitutional, and attorneys' fees and costs.

Read entire thread...
Read entire complaint...
 


11/16/11 6:21 PM
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EnderTL
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First, we must ask ourselves "What is art?".
11/16/11 6:31 PM
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gatorlaw
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As an attorney, I think it's a unique, creative argument. Although my area of practice is business and real estate law, I think UFC's counsel has a good shot at arguing that MMA is a fighter's means of expression under the First Amd.

I'm even more interested to see what defenses NY raises. Either way I think that, from a PR standpoint, NY comes out looking very much like the bad guy here.

I haven't read the complaint yet but when I do I'll give you guys a Spark Notes version.
11/16/11 6:35 PM
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Immaculata
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gatorlaw - As an attorney, I think it's a unique, creative argument. Although my area of practice is business and real estate law, I think UFC's counsel has a good shot at arguing that MMA is a fighter's means of expression under the First Amd.

I'm even more interested to see what defenses NY raises. Either way I think that, from a PR standpoint, NY comes out looking very much like the bad guy here.

I haven't read the complaint yet but when I do I'll give you guys a Spark Notes version.

Thank you.
11/16/11 6:46 PM
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Zapruder
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Fuck yeah! There are Goldieisms in the formal complain...well at least one.
11/16/11 6:52 PM
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TheVileOne
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There is not any logical reason why a fight can be held right across the way in New Jersey but not in New York.
11/16/11 7:00 PM
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wisdomseeker76
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Brillant move by the UFC. If they are able to win, it will be CHECKMATE to New York's Culinary Union. MMA will be legal in New York!
11/16/11 7:07 PM
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Capslock17ny
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Edited: 11/16/11 7:08 PM
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I think this was the endgame of the early Fox production. UFC on FOX 1 wasn't part of the 7 year deal, it was moreso an early treat.

Judging from what the laywer is saying though, it's a key factor in their argument. As of right now, it's fully legal to run an MMA gym, or practice MMA in New York State. I myself, am a New Yorker, and know this for a fact. Serra's gym is a prime example. All that is illegal is for it to be held in front of an audience, such as a UFC event at MSG.

Another part of the argument got me thinking though. The laywer for the UFC said, "There's no reason why the UFC shouldn't be able to hold an event in New York, when it's already airing on New York television."

Checkmate. Anyone in New York State could've turned to Channel 5 on Saturday and seen the HW title fight. Holding an event in New York State is a different argument entirely, but the Fox deal is a serious feather in the cap of the UFC. If it airs on the same broadcast TV network as the Super Bowl, making an argument against them holding an event in the state is hard to do. There's a lot of money and influence over at Fox.
11/16/11 7:09 PM
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TheVileOne
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Will be interesting to see what kind of defense New York idiots come up with.
11/16/11 7:12 PM
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mmavixen
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gatorlaw - As an attorney, I think it's a unique, creative argument. Although my area of practice is business and real estate law, I think UFC's counsel has a good shot at arguing that MMA is a fighter's means of expression under the First Amd.

I'm even more interested to see what defenses NY raises. Either way I think that, from a PR standpoint, NY comes out looking very much like the bad guy here.

I haven't read the complaint yet but when I do I'll give you guys a Spark Notes version.

As a recovering attorney, I agree.  It could be interesting to see how far we can push the "expression" issue as related to MMA and the right to assembly. The UFC played this one brilliantly.

BTW: Go Gators!
11/16/11 7:21 PM
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un3rgr0und
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I think this lawsuit is pretty clever, whoever came up with this should pat themselves on the back

The UFC should win and should finally be in New York
11/16/11 7:32 PM
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Immaculata
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TTT.
11/16/11 7:41 PM
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SOO72
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Since when does art need to be sanctioned by athletic commissions?
11/16/11 9:31 PM
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BLACK and BLUE Comic
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 Interesting tactic. I know Schneiderman and he's a good guy.  The problem with the suit is that they're trying to prove MMA is something else when it's explicitly banned by NYS law.  It's not just unregulated by the SAC.  It's legislatively banned.  It's hard to see how a judicial opinion could declare otherwise.
11/16/11 10:27 PM
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CindyO
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Boston Tar Baby - No its not a fucking art. at least not in the same way as ballet, music or theater.

 Yes, it is!! It's a ballet of violence! Artsy enough for me=)

Seriously, who cares what reason they used to file suit- I'm glad they're trying everything they can to get this thing sanctioned in NY.

Cindy
11/16/11 10:31 PM
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Kirik
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gatorlaw - As an attorney, I think it's a unique, creative argument. Although my area of practice is business and real estate law, I think UFC's counsel has a good shot at arguing that MMA is a fighter's means of expression under the First Amd.

I'm even more interested to see what defenses NY raises. Either way I think that, from a PR standpoint, NY comes out looking very much like the bad guy here.

I haven't read the complaint yet but when I do I'll give you guys a Spark Notes version.

 Thanks man!
11/16/11 11:02 PM
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CindyO
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EnderTL - First, we must ask ourselves "What is art?".

 If it's been romo'd, paint'd or GIF'd then it's art=)

Cindy
11/16/11 11:04 PM
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crazychris
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Edited: 11/16/11 11:05 PM
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I think Anderson Silva, among others, have been artful in the octagon throughout their career. I consider the sport an art form.
11/16/11 11:06 PM
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crazychris
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I also consider the lawsuit a badass move.
11/16/11 11:47 PM
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VinCenzo
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If dancing is an art then so is a martial art. Might have to change the name to The Ultimate Capoeira Championship if this doesn't work Phone Post
11/16/11 11:50 PM
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phdinmma
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Theyre making it a constitutional issue.

That's fucking creative. Phone Post
11/17/11 12:03 AM
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Got MMAlk
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Genius. Phone Post
11/17/11 12:09 AM
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 lol ,art .dana and the brothers getting a taste of what they dished out.fucking guys voted against the ufc in nevada.
11/17/11 12:13 AM
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bakalol
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i think you'll be seeing mma in new york very soon....
11/17/11 1:24 AM
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gatorlaw
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 As promised, here's a *very* truncated version of the Zuffa's complaint - it's actually a really cool read just from the perspective of an MMA fan.

Zuffa is alleging several violations of the US constitution, including the First Amendment, Equal Protection Clause (14th Amd.), Due Process Clause (also 14th Amd.), and the Commerce Clause (Art. I Sec. 8 of the US Const.).
Argues that each *component* of mixed martial arts is legal. As a whole, MMA should be a sum of its parts. (Awesome argument btw)

Likens MMA to theater performance, violent video games, songs with violent lyrics, etc.

Discusses the origins of the sport and the poor marketing strategy of "There are no rules!" Talks about how modern MMA has evolved in every way from its origins.

Talks about the success of UFC and its contract with Fox as well as Belator's success and its new deal with Spike. Also touts TUF. Generally talks about how "mainstream" the sport has become.

Recounts the good ol' days in MSG with Frazier and Ali, Marciano and Louis. States that MSG has fallen and now merely hosts "viewing parties" of the sport.

Touts MMA's safety record as compared to boxing, football, and even equestrian sports and cheerleading (lol). States that the ban merely fosters underground events.

Perhaps most interesting in the entire complaint, it talks about the message of MMA and why fighters do what they do. This is where the expression argument comes in - they argue that fighters are demonstrating skills gained through a lifetime of training, practicing, and studying, just like any other performer or athlete. Argues that the ban silences that message and expression.

Goes on to discuss the parties to the complaint, most interesting of which is the fan, Joseph Lozito, who stopped that knife-weilding attacker on the subway. I'm sure you guys remember that. It talks about how Joe views MMA as an art form/entertainment and how the ban prohibits him from viewing the same live without traveling out of state.Goes on to discuss other fans, trainers, and athletes.

I'm not going to go into the causes of action too much, but they articulate that the ban is both facially unconstitutional and as it is applied to the parties, the ban is overbroad, the ban is vague, the ban allows the components of MMA but not the whole, the ban is irrational and violates substantive due process, the ban restricts interstate commerce, and lastly shit about a 2001 liquor law that I didn't want to read. (give me a break - it's on page 103).

Zuffa is seeking an injunction of the ban (make it stop), a declaration that the law is unconstitutional, and attorneys' fees and costs. 

---

The end. God I hope Zuffa wins. This would be such a badass case to work on. Dana, if you ever read this, let me come work for you as part of your in-house counsel team. That'd be my damn dream job.

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