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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 …

“It has nothing to do with mixed martial arts, the reason that we’re not in New York,” he told MMA Weekly. “It has to do with the Culinary Union. The Culinary Union is spending millions of dollars of all these people who pay dues to keep us out of there because my partners, the Fertitta brothers, are the largest non-union gaming company in the country … These union idiots, all these people work in the Culinary Union, paying all their money towards dues, this is what all their money’s being spent towards.”

According to a 2008 report from MMA Payout, Unite Here is a heavyweight on the New York political scene, with 90,000 members in that state alone. Payout reports “the union spent $100,000 lobbying the Albany legislature (in 2007) and made more than $130,000 in political contributions to the Democratic and Working Families parties. That financial commitment dwarfs the UFC’s reported $40,000 in donations to New York Democrats.”

We assume this is still going on today. So, if you were wondering how the UFC made some contributions to the campaign of New York governor Andrew Cuomo last year, only to have MMA legalization disappear from his annual agenda, that’s probably your answer. We hate to openly speculate (no we don’t) but given Dana’s quote above, it also sounds like we won’t be seeing MMA legalized in New York for some time. Or at least until the Fertittas become better bosses.

Cagepotato Comments

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BEAM- May 5, 2011 at 10:00 am
And when can we expect the Break Media union? I'm guessing... never.
agentsmith- May 5, 2011 at 9:55 am
@ intercept440:
Thanks for providing us with the unionist defense, but there's a few problems there. Since you bring up guilds, you should admit that the whole guild system was less about enforcing a minimum standard of work than it was about protectionism and controlling the supply of tradesmen. Which is of course still very much the case with unions today, as there is no guarantee provided for the quality of work, and in fact one could argue the opposite is more likely since the union protects shitty employees and makes it very difficult to fire them.

Also, this situation is not at all about the UFC being unwilling to play nice with the unions at venues, since they don't really have a choice in the matter, do they? If you're a union member, you know as well as I that if a certain venue is unionized, ALL events held there MUST use union labor, period. It's very clear that this isn't about the UFC at all, this is about a culinary union from Vegas using their connections to get revenge and leverage on the Fertitas.

That being said, as much as I'm in favor of open-shops, it's just not right to buy a unionized company and then fire 85% of the union employees. I'm actually surprised they got away with it, is that even legal?

And to anyone who says the UFC should have dumped more money into lobbying, I don't think it's that simple. This is more about old-school connections than payoffs, and that's why Zuffa is on the losing end... they're trying to throw money at people who are already buddy-buddy with the unions. This is just another example of how connections are usually more important than money.
BEAM- May 5, 2011 at 9:35 am
"Minimum wage, child labor laws, eight-hour work day"

What is this, 1932?

Hey everybody, let's all bow down to the buggy whip next because it was useful once!
LOKI- May 5, 2011 at 5:38 am
So, wait....Its NOT because of all the tatted up homosexual white skinheads?
newdeal- May 5, 2011 at 5:12 am
Unions are great as long as the companies are profitable. If they have a bad year then you get a GM situation where the company cannot sustain itself and has its hands tied by the union so they either have to move to China or just go out of business
newdeal- May 5, 2011 at 5:10 am
140,000 is a drop in the bucket. I seriously doubt that these guys even get off the couch for less than a million contribution
uzitotinbaby- May 5, 2011 at 1:50 am
This is an MMA website, not network news. If you want straight reporting, there are numerous dry, boring sites like MMAJunkie out there. I prefer a little personality and humor in my reading.
johnhayte- May 4, 2011 at 11:08 pm
I don't understand why anyone would want to unionize. Getting a better wage, medical benefits, a pension? Not if it denies the shareholders that 4th vacation home they have been hankering for - that would be a serious injustice.
JWM- May 4, 2011 at 10:18 pm
Union member and blood sucking worthless freeloader are interchangeable 99 times out of a hundred.
intercept440- May 4, 2011 at 8:22 pm
jeffcmusa... the taint is technically called the perineum and is the same in men and woman, its the skin that sepereates your genitals and your smelly asshole, your just used to ssaying in lame jokes directed at woman, cause you get no pussy.. ZING
Oatmeal Baby- May 4, 2011 at 8:16 pm
Everything in the caption is actually a federal law now, but yea I guess it does make sense to continue to pay portions of your paycheck to a union that does not benefit you in any way besides making it harder for your company to run.
jeffmcbusa- May 4, 2011 at 8:13 pm
RwilsonR: That first statement of yours was almost word for word what i was thinking. Fuck the unions too. Intercept440 men sweat, women perspire. You taint a man......
Jesus Frijoles- May 4, 2011 at 7:47 pm
Sooooooo....let me get this straight. A bunch of mobsters are trying squeeze a piece of the action out of the other bunch of as usual.
intercept440- May 4, 2011 at 7:38 pm
anyone who doenst like my afformentioned comments .. can lick the sweat off my taint and gargle with it
MuslimReality- May 4, 2011 at 7:35 pm
Forget New York and just come back to Toronto....
intercept440- May 4, 2011 at 7:35 pm
Normally... i wouldnt touch this topic.. but as a union member of one of the largest construction unions in the country, i have to say dana white doesnt know what the fuck he is talking about when it comes to what unions funds actually do....dues is paid each month to be a member.. that money then goes to fund local unions a very small amount goes to the main union body out of that local dues (in the amounts of pennies per hour worked, so if people arent working there is no funding coming in) this is why unions have political arms that try to get politicians to help them support organized labor. you make a contract.. not unlike dana white makes with his fighters, which even with is fighters is negotiated that negotitated wage goes to help the worker have insurance and what have you....


what most people think of unions is from stories about jimmy hoffa and shit like that... none of that is the way it works in this day and age..

for those of you who are uneducated about unions the first thing you need to do is stop believeing what hear and go ask a union member themselves what " Rumors " you hear about unions is often just that a rumor like the game you played in english class one person starts on one end , the other tries to repoeat it, by then end of the line the story is confuzzled...

number 2 everysingle trade on the planet almost has begun from what in the old days was called a GUILD, in that guild it had a standard required amount for services rendered for differnt services.. the culinary unions are based on SERVICE.. like cooks and chefs and porters and what not...knwoing what i know about this the unions would WANT the ufc to put on events in there cities, becuase it would GAIN THEM WORK... so i would advice all of the loyal CP people to support american jobs and not throw judgments on unions based on what the BALDFATHER says... i can guareendamed T u that he isnt telling the True tail..

in large cities a good chunk of stadium works and upkeep types ARE UNION so they would WANT events there to help provide americans work... Dana proabbly wouldnt agree to any type of union contract....( he more than likely would be wanting to pay as little as possible to stadium workers so that his profits are larger...its CALLED BEING A GREeDY BASTARD.. i love MMA and the UFC and actually like Dana most of the time... but this isnt the true story i can guarentee that..

ive said my peace, and ill add

SuckMySkyWalker- May 4, 2011 at 7:30 pm
The uglier Fertita, the one whos afraid to show his gay face looks like his creepy uncle used to touch him often as a child. The other one looks like he has the capabilities of forcing Dana to give him hand-jobs.
SuckMySkyWalker- May 4, 2011 at 7:28 pm
Fuck RwilsonR, Fuck the Fertita queers and fuck your stupid beliefs...most of you are a bunch of faggots complaining about "liberal" this and "left-wing" that. I bet you live in community housing, trailer home, or with your mom faggot.
johnhayte- May 4, 2011 at 7:11 pm
If this article is true then it sounds like the Fertittas brought this on themselves. They fucked with the Culinary Union, so now the union is fucking them - as a fight fan this sucks, but objectively speaking its fair enough.
darciesdaddy- May 4, 2011 at 6:43 pm
Fired 850 out of 1000 union workers? I think 15% is about right if you skim off the decent workers and toss the rest.
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fightguy189- May 4, 2011 at 5:58 pm
“Or at least until the Fertittas become better bosses.”

If you did research before you made blatantly politically slanted statements maybe you'd know that station casinos has been rated one of the 100 best companies to work for for about 10 years in a row. May 4, 2011 at 5:38 pm
Don't forget to lift up the seat when you're done peeing, too, while you're at it. May 4, 2011 at 5:37 pm
F unions, F New York, F Cage Potato. The unions are as corrupt as wall street bankers, AIG, G/E CEO, and as corrupt as the politicians they buy left and right. Hey CagePotato: You're in the business of reporting MMA. Act like it. Grow some balls. Keep the liberal crap with your tampons!
Uppercut Magnet- May 4, 2011 at 5:13 pm
Dana White is going to sleep with the fishes.