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Tag: New York MMA legalization

Fed Up With The Culinary Union’s Bullshit, The UFC Launches an Attack Website of Its Own

Suffice it to say, if you aren’t aware of all the downright despicable practices The Culinary Workers Union Local 226 has pulled over the years in regards to the UFC and MMA in general, you’ve probably been living in the dark. Operating under a thinly-veiled “concern” for the conduct of UFC fighters and a need to protect our children from the potty mouth of Dana White, the CU — often backed by one or more anti-women’s violence groups — has been the driving force behind the anti-MMA movement in New York. The fact that their continuous harassment of the UFC and laughable (not to mention libelous) smear campaigns have only hurt the economy of the state they are trying to “protect” is an irony that has apparently been lost on them.

In either case, it appears that the UFC has grown tired of seeing so many websites backed by the CU — websites that, like the CU itself, operate under a false front — popping up over the years, and has launched their own counter-website, TheTruthAboutCulinary226.com. The website aims to both expose the Culinary Union for the dissembling moralists that they truly are in addition to uncovering just how poorly the organization is managing its own member’s funds:

The Culinary Union has targeted Station Casinos because the company refuses to agree to a “card check” process whereby the Culinary Union may become the representative of its employees without being elected as such through a secret ballot election. Rather than simply following the secret ballot election process that U.S. federal law provides, the Culinary Union’s management has instead waged a dishonest campaign to pressure Station Casinos to capitulate to its demands. As part of that campaign, the Culinary Union has been engaging in harassment tactics that target all of the business interests of the Fertittas, including Station Casinos and the UFC. 

The Culinary Union has criticized Zuffa for making political contributions of $231,650 in 2012.  However, in 2012, UNITE HERE itself spent almost 5 ½ times more than Zuffa on cash disbursements for political activities and lobbying, totaling $1,252,676. Additionally, UNITE HERE paid a total of $1,158,598 to “consultants” in 2011.

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UFC Scores Major Victory in Legal Battle With New York State; Promotion Could Begin Holding Events Under Third-Party Sanctioning


(Is this real life? / Dream-fight poster via NixsonDesign)

A hearing yesterday afternoon related to the UFC’s ongoing lawsuit against the State of New York — which challenges the validity of the state’s 1997 MMA ban on constitutional grounds — ended in the UFC’s greatest victory thus far in its fight to hold events in the Empire State. Jim Genia was on the scene at the U.S District Court of the Southern District of New York, and broke the news for Fightline.com:

In what was supposed to be a day of oral arguments pertaining to the State Attorney General’s most recent motion to dismiss, attorney John M. Schwartz — representing the Attorney General’s office — acknowledged unequivocally that the law prohibiting pro MMA did not apply to amateur versions of the sport, and that as per the statute, a pre-approved third-party sanctioning body could oversee MMA events in the state. The admission of the latter prompted the counsel representing Zuffa’s interests to say that if that were truly the case, then there’d be no further need to pursue the lawsuit – which in turn prompted the presiding Judge Kimba Wood of the U.S District Court of the Southern District of New York to push both sides to immediately settle…

Notwithstanding whether a settlement is reached, the door is now open for Zuffa — or any other MMA promotion — to circumvent the ban by utilizing one of the pre-approved sanctioning bodies enumerated in the statute. Those sanctioning bodies include the World Karate Association (since renamed the World Kickboxing Association, a.k.a. the “WKA”), the Professional Karate Association and the U.S. Judo Association, among others…

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What the Heck Is Going on in New York? MMA’s Legal Gray-Area in the Empire State



(A nice little Sunday at the Underground Combat League. / All photos courtesy of the author.)

 By Jim Genia

The UFC held a show in Buffalo, N.Y., in 1995, and all was well and good. That is, until New York banned professional mixed martial arts in 1997 on the grounds that it was “human cockfighting” and fights to the death suck. Or something like that. But the passage of time has seen the sport evolve, and now MMA is sanctioned almost everywhere in the country — everywhere but New York.

So last year Zuffa filed a lawsuit against the state alleging that the ban violated all sorts of Constitutional rights, and while the suit is currently mired in the muck of the judicial process, and efforts to change the law via the legislature get bogged down year after maddening year, something has changed. Depending on where you live in the state, it’s now possible to take in an MMA event live. There are shows sprouting up on the sovereign territory of Indian Reservations, and amateur MMA competitions are kicking off in ice skating rinks and in armories — all of them happening pretty much unmolested by an athletic commission that went from “search and destroy” mode to laissez-faire in seemingly the blink of an eye. Which begs the question: What the heck is going on in New York?

The short answer is that there’s a lot going in New York. The long answer, however, involves an athletic commission finally admitting that amateur MMA is legal, fights on Indian Land, and an underground fight scene that shows no signs of slowing down.

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Oklahoma Bans MMA: The Time to Riot is Now


(We hear you there, bro.) 

In a move that is sure to upset hundreds of thousands of dozens of people, the Oklahoma State Athletic Commission, and specifically its Executive Director Joe Miller, recently issued the following statement to promoters statewide that has more or less banned MMA from the land of fried okra:

The purpose of this letter is to inform you the Oklahoma State Athletic Commission will not be accepting applications for event permits for events scheduled after March 31, 2012. The Commission is faced with an out-of-state threat that, if successful, could greatly affect the Commission’s ability to provide for the public safety and for the health and safety of the athletes for future events throughout the state of Oklahoma. The Commission is currently trying to address legal and legislative efforts which have given us serious concerns about how we move forward with adequate oversight of Oklahoma’s boxing, mixed martial arts, and professional wrestling events. As you know, the primary focus of this agency is to make sure the athlete’s health, and safety is not compromised. We take this charge very seriously. The Commission and I will be working diligently to address these issues and develop a plan of action to return to a normal course of business.

Now why, pray tell, do you think Oklahoma would do this to us? Here’s a hint: Dana M.F. White.

Join us after the jump for more on this story as well as a great piece of Pro-NY MMA propaganda. 

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New York Getting Ready to Pull the Ball Away Before MMA Supporters Can Kick Legalization Field Goal


(“What about the Craftmatic adjustable bed we bought you,  Bob?!!”)

Well, the MMA legalization bill in New York just passed through yet another hoop today. A04146A was approved by a vote of 17-1 by the State Assembly’s Codes Committee. Insiders estimate that’s as close as it will get to becoming a law, however, since the next vote will be chaired by vehement MMA opposer, Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver in the Ways & Means Committee.

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White Says ‘Union Idiots’ are Keeping MMA Out of New York

(“Minimum wage, child labor laws, eight-hour work day – that stuff’s for pussies.”)

For a couple of years now word has been percolating that the real reason MMA can’t seem to successfully find its way through the New York State Assembly might have less to do with the sport itself than with Frank and Lorenzo Fertitta’s purported anti-union business practices back home in Nevada. The Spark Notes version is this: The Fertittas’ Station Casinos group is reportedly the largest non-union company in Las Vegas and has a longstanding beef with a powerful nationwide hotel and restaurant workers’ union called Unite Here, which claims Vegas’ Culinary Union Local 226 as its largest chapter. That relationship turned even more icy in 2000, when the brothers allegedly fired 850 of 1,000 union employees working at a casino they’d just acquired. Ever since then the union has done everything it can to put political pressure on the Fertittas’ various business ventures, including bringing its considerable lobbying clout to bear in opposition to the UFC operating in New York.

Anybody who’s ever seen a Martin Scorsese movie knows you can’t piss off one of the country’s biggest labor unions and expect to do business in the Empire State, right? That’d be like publishing nude photos of one of the UFC’s ring girls on your website and expecting to still get press credentials. Just wrong-headed and crazy. Anyway, UFC Prez Dana White has long stayed mum about the Fertitta’s feud with big labor, but this week White mustered his usual political savvy and velvet-glove oratory skills to break down MMA’s New York legalization efforts thusly …

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MMA Loses Another Battle in New York; State Assembly Pulls Sport From Budget Bill

UFC 111 poster New York City
(So the UFC is too brutal for New York, but children are allowed to see "Mamma Mia"? Explain that one to me. / Photo courtesy of graciemag.com.)

NYDailyNews.com breaks the unfortunate turn of events:

ALBANY – The push to legalize ultimate fighting in New York is on the ropes. Assembly Democrats stripped approval for the wildly popular violent sport from a budget bill that lawmakers will take up as soon as today.

Gov. Paterson sought to legalize mixed martial arts, saying fights could pull in more than $2 million in tax revenue for the cash-strapped state.

"The majority of voices who spoke about this issue in our conference were not supportive of approving it as part of the budget," said Assemblyman Steven Englebright (D-L.I.), a fight fan. Englebright said it’s a long shot the Assembly will revisit the issue. The state Senate has already approved the sport.

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BREAKING: New York Passed Vote Today to Move MMA Sanctioning Bill to Codes Committee; In Your Face, Bob Reilly

Bill
(How ’bout best two out of three?)

A-2009c, the bill that calls for the sanctioning of combat sports in New York State was referred to the Codes Committee by the Committee of Parks, Tourism, and Sports Development once again today, meaning if it can pass just two more hurdles, the sport will be legalized in the state.

You may recall that the same committee already voted to pass the bill back in June of 2009, however thanks in part to pressure by opposition leader Bob Reilly who sits on the committee that voted on A-2009c today, the group was made to vote on it again. Reilly stated that Governor David Paterson, who included MMA sanctioning in his executive budget proposal for this year was  “attempting to circumvent the legislative process" by including MMA in the budget rather than bringing the issue to the sub-assembly for vote.

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Guy Who Originally Banned MMA in New York Now Cool With It

George Pataki New York Governor MMA
("Helen, I need you to track down this ‘Nate Diaz‘ fellow. I believe this young man may have some interesting ideas on how to address the state’s growing hater problem.")

On Monday, we gleefully high-fived each other at the news that New York Governor David Paterson was coming out publicly in favor of MMA regulation in the Empire State. But new support is coming from a surprising — and just as significant — source. Via the New York Daily News:

ALBANY – Former Gov. George Pataki, who once called ultimate fighting barbaric and had it banned in 2001 in New York, now supports its legalization.
 
"With more rigorous oversight, training and medical requirements – mixed martial arts has made considerable strides to ensure the safety of participants," said Pataki spokesman David Catalfamo.
 
"With these measures in mind, Gov. Pataki would be supportive of allowing the sport in New York in today," he told the Daily News.

Kickass. We now have two governors on our side, while the opposition’s most prominent voice in New York is still crackpot Assemblyman Bob Reilly, aided by a few ill-informed, progress-resisting editorial columnists who still refer to mixed martial arts as "ultimate fighting" (no offense to the guy who wrote the above article). Pataki’s change-of-heart will be an incredibly valuable talking point in the battle to come: If the dude who banned MMA can inform himself on the sport’s progress over the last ten years and change his opinion, those opposition voices should be able to do the same.

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New York Assembly to Vote on MMA Regulation Bill on June 3rd

Matt Serra UFC MMA
(Vote ‘yes’ or Matt Serra will eat this baby. Photo courtesy of bleacherreport.com)

After months of debate and delay, the New York State Assembly Committee on Tourism, Parks, Arts and Sports has set a date for their vote on bill 2009-B, intended to regulate mixed martial arts in New York. MMA Weekly confirmed that the vote will take place Wednesday, June 3rd, and passed along these additional details:

Assemblyman Jonathan Bing, a Democrat representing the county of New York, will present the arguments in favor of the bill. Assemblyman Bob Reilly [Ed. note: Boooooo!], a Democrat representing Albany and Saratoga counties, will present the arguments opposing the bill. Mr. Reilly has been a vocal critic of the sport and last month released a document to committee members that outlined his arguments against legalizing the sport.
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