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UnderGround Forums >> Report: NY MMA legalization delayed to extract $$$


4/24/13 12:47 PM
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MixedMartialArts.com
 

Mixed martial arts is now the world's fastest growing sport, but you can't have a professional fight in Madison Square Garden, historically a center of the combat sports universe.

In a startling essay, Aaron Elstein from Crain's NY says he was told by insiders that the reason MMA bills keep failing to get through the legislature is because the UFC is being strung along to extract the greatest amount of lobbying money.

While having a tinfoil hat quality to it, the piece still makes for interesting reading, including the unverified estimate that the UFC has spent $2,500,000 trying to get professional MMA legal in the Empire State.

In Albany, this sport has become a money pot.

The people who run Ultimate Fighting Championship have been lobbying for years to lift a state ban on professional mixed martial arts bouts. They've failed so far, even though Gov. Andrew Cuomo supports legalization and the state Senate has voted four times to end the ban.

Opposition from unions and concerns about head injuries are commonly cited explanations for why the ban endures. But the real reason may be that UFC is simply such an important useful pot of cash for Albany. As one person involved in creating the 1997 law banning the sport explained to me, there's no particular urgency in Albany to pass a bill overturning the ban because lawmakers and lobbyists have figured out there's much moolah to be extracted from the Las Vegas casino operators who own UFC.

"Everyone knows these guys have a lot of money," the insider said, referring to the Fertitta brothers, who bought UFC in 2001 for $2 million and built the company into one reportedly worth $2 billion. "The ban has nothing to do with people being concerned about the morality of the sport or injuries to the athletes. This is about getting more money from UFC before the law is overturned."

Albany has already pocketed a lot of money from the UFC. According to records filed with the New York State Commission on Public Integrity, UFC's parent company, Zuffa LLC, spent $73,000 last year to hire lobbyists and to cover travel costs of bringing fighters to lobby the Legislature.

But in 2011, Zuffa spent about $400,000 on lobbying, print and radio ads and robocalls to press its cause. In 2010, it forked over $490,000 on lobbying, public relations, advertising and building a website. In 2009, it spent a bit more than half a million. And 2008 was the best year of all, with Zuffa shelling out $600,000 on lobbying and P.R.

Madison Square Garden, which presumably would host bouts, spent about $170,000 lobbying for legalization in 2009. Among the firms it hired was the one run by Patricia Lynch, a former top aide to Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver. Forest City Ratner, developer of the Barclays Center, also has lobbied in favor of legalization, and so has the Hospitality & Tourism Association.

Then there is the money spent lobbying the Cuomo administration and state Legislature. Zuffa contributed $207,000 to these parties last year, including $55,000 to Gov. Andrew Cuomo's campaign and $50,000 each to the Senate Republican Campaign Committee and the Democratic Assembly Campaign Committee, according to Followthemoney.org.

In 2010, it gave $135,000 to the Cuomo campaign and the various state campaign war chests. In 2008, it gave $35,000 to campaign accounts.

Add it all up, and over the past five years UFC has spent $2.5 million on lobbyists, public relations consultants, ads and campaign contributions with, as yet, nothing to show it. If Assembly leader Silver doesn't hold a vote to overturn the ban this year—and he doesn't seem inclined to—UFC will surely be back next year.

It is truly one singularly useful pot.

Read entire article...


4/24/13 12:50 PM
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crowbar
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Edited: 04/24/13 3:38 PM
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Edited.

4/24/13 12:54 PM
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Mariooo1UP
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UFC should use that money to pay for private buses to bus New Yorkers into jersey for the show. Buy em dinner, whatever to boost jerseys economy. Fuck NY at this point. (And I live here) Phone Post 3.0
4/24/13 12:58 PM
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UGCKIRTT_SonofJockstrap
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If that story is true, then my hatred for New York has even more validity. Fuck 'em, bunch of scumbags.

4/24/13 2:06 PM
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Letibleu
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In my head I have compartmentalized seeing MMA in NY in the same place as a GSP vs Silva fight and Fedor fighting in the UFC.
4/24/13 2:08 PM
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cecils_pupils
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2.5 million spent on lobbying seems like a lot, but compared to how much money the UFC will make with it's first Madison Square garden show, it's a drop in the bucket. They could spend another 10 million and still be profitable after only 1 event.

That said, Fcuk New York. I would never live there, ever. Idiot mayor trying to ban everything from soda to trans fats, what's next? No texting while walking in Times Square?

4/24/13 2:26 PM
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6ULDV8
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Yeah, no big sodas for delivery, for the good of the people.

 

Hey, thanks for looking out for us government, or I would have had too much soda!

 

What in the fuck happened to New York?

4/24/13 2:51 PM
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JerodR
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Madison Square Garden is cool, and I understand the desire to be in New York but the UFC does not need them. This whole thing with New York is nothing more than a very clean window into the corrupt world of politics. It shows how dishonest and corrupt they really are and it sickens me.

At this point I would love to see the UFC just say screw New York and go everywhere else. Let 49 other states and countries all over the world make money from the UFC. New York will be the one wanting the UFC there sooner or later. Let the UFC and MMA grow as big as possible and New York be the ones begging for them to have an event there. Absolutely disgusting what these idiots are able to do...
4/24/13 3:13 PM
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JimmersonzGlove
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Blue please?

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=N2dlQEiwg0I
4/24/13 3:24 PM
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rezzz
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Sad that Matt Serra likely wont get his chance to fight at the Garden like he wanted to i believe. Phone Post 3.0
4/24/13 3:30 PM
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MMALOGIC
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legalized bribery friends... welcome.

4/24/13 3:37 PM
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JimmersonzGlove - Blue please?

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=N2dlQEiwg0I

.

4/24/13 3:53 PM
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Inked624
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Mariooo1UP - UFC should use that money to pay for private buses to bus New Yorkers into jersey for the show. Buy em dinner, whatever to boost jerseys economy. Fuck NY at this point. (And I live here) Phone Post 3.0
Agreed. I live on Long Island, and the idea of hopping on the LIRR, and go to Penn Station to watch a UFC event would be ideal.............but NOPE, we'll be one of the few states that has it legalized.

"Big Apple" my ass.............more like "Sour Apple". Phone Post 3.0
4/24/13 4:09 PM
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JimmersonzGlove
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Thanks Crowbar. That song brings the LOLz. I can picture Dana bumping it on his way to the airport.
4/24/13 4:14 PM
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vaginal tear
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Never gonna pay Taxes - I lost hope for UFC in New York forever ago
I kinda hope they say fuck you NY we will stay in Jersey. Phone Post 3.0
4/24/13 4:53 PM
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The Engineer
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The UFC should stop paying a dime to lobby in New York, start holding shows just close enough to bring New Yorkers to them so that all of the politicians can see just how much money is being sucked out of their state and into surrounding areas. Let the well run dry, don't answer their calls for while and let them start wondering where all of the lobby money has gone.

Then when they finally come crawling, hold out for biggest deals and tax breaks they can get. Squeeze the shit out of them. Screw that crap state, they can make just as much money holding shows just outside the state!
4/24/13 5:05 PM
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kevsh
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MMALOGIC - 

legalized bribery friends... welcome.


Yep.

As a country that prides itself on being a shining example of democracy, the whole concept of lobbying pretty much shreds that image. As we've seen with the pro-gun lobby, those with the money have the power and influence, and they get what they want, not necessarily what's right or what the public wants.

So I certainly don't feel bad for the UFC spending hundreds of thousands of dollars (aka bribes) to get MMA legalized in NY. The only sad thing is all that money they wasted could've been put to better use than lining the pockets of politicians.
4/24/13 5:24 PM
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6ULDV8
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Lobbying has been around for years and they pay for elections.

 

Whaddyagonnado?

4/24/13 6:26 PM
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Inked624
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Inked624 -
Mariooo1UP - UFC should use that money to pay for private buses to bus New Yorkers into jersey for the show. Buy em dinner, whatever to boost jerseys economy. Fuck NY at this point. (And I live here) Phone Post 3.0
Agreed. I live on Long Island, and the idea of hopping on the LIRR, and go to Penn Station to watch a UFC event would be ideal.............but NOPE, we'll be one of the few states that has it legalized.

"Big Apple" my ass.............more like "Sour Apple". Phone Post 3.0
*not legalized Phone Post 3.0
4/24/13 10:04 PM
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jiiiim
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ssj - 2.5M aint SHIT

2x UFC events at MSG and Brooklyn will make that plus more
If I were the UFC, I would drop New York like a bad habit. They obviously don't need them to be successful.

Sure 2.5 mil is a drop in the hat compared to what they would make if mma is legalized, but why go through the hassle? They can make money somewhere else. Stop sucking up to the fucktarded corrupt politicians. NY needs MMA more than MMA needs NY. Phone Post 3.0

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