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With MMA Opposition Weakening in New York, UFC Hopes for 20th Anniversary Event at Madison Square Garden

(In honor of Reilly’s impending retirement, we proudly present the most embarrassing moment of his entire political career. You crazy for that one, Bob.)

By Elias Cepeda

Alright, we don’t want to get your hopes up but…

According to a New York State Assembly “insider” quoted in a new report by NY Daily News reporter Kenneth Lovett, “It’s getting harder for [Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver] to keep blocking this,” referring to the bill partially crafted by the UFC to sanction MMA in New York.

“Resistance to it is getting less,” Speaker Silver admitted.

Lovett went on to explain in his report that Assemblyman Robert Reilly — better known around here as “Bob,” and one of New York’s most passionateconfused, and dishonest opponents of MMA sanctioning — is miraculously retiring this week (!!!) and that his departure should take a good deal of steam out of the opposition to MMA in New York. The ban on professional MMA in the state was signed into law by then-Governor George Pataki in 1997, but now even he is calling for the sport’s legalization.

Sources tell The Daily News that if the bill to legalize and regulate professional MMA in New York were brought to a vote in the general assembly right now, it would be passed. However, hurdles remain for the sport and its largest promotion, the UFC. Members of the NY Assembly including Deborah Glick and Daniel O’Donnell still oppose MMA’s legalization, the report says, and they might be able to prevent the measure from getting through committee and to the general assembly for voting.

In addition, the Culinary Workers Union — MMA’s most powerful arch-nemesis in the fight for New York MMA regulation — continues its loud propaganda campaign against the UFC, slamming everything from Dana White’s language to Mandy Moore’s judgment. (Funny story: If you go to the Culinary Union’s anti-UFC website right now, the lead story is a screen-cap of a CagePotato article. Wisely, they didn’t reprint the article’s first line, which refers to the Union as “two-faced, propaganda pushing arseholes.”)

Nevertheless, UFC President Dana White seems to be as optimistic as ever that his organization will soon put on an event in New York. After UFC 155, the promoter told assembled media that he hoped to host a UFC 20th Anniversary event in Manhattan’s Madison Square Garden this coming fall. “We have a date, and we have a match,” White revealed.

We’ve long dreamed of a super event in New York City and Madison Square Garden, if mostly for the symbolic significance. MMA is legal in just about every significant American locale except for New York, which is losing untold millions in potential revenue by not allowing the UFC to hold events there.

In honor of this latest glimmer of hope, we now present highlight videos from some of the most awesome MMA fighters that New York has produced: Current light heavyweight champion and pound for pound contender Jon Jones, former welterweight champion Matt Serra, and “Bad Ass” Emeritus Phil Baroni.

Matt Serra Highlights:

Jon Jones Highlights:

Phil Baroni Highlights:

Cagepotato Comments

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XENOPHON- January 3, 2013 at 12:21 pm
@ Fried Taco - I really don't think anyone here cares if CP or they themselves gets any press passes, or tee-shirts from Dana. Nobody cares that Dana has some phoney ban on Cage Potato or their sniped articles.

We all know Dana was once a yoga instructor, maybe he can show us all how to get flexible and insert his head up his ass. Now if Dana could hold that pose, that would make for a real collectable bobble doll that even I would put on my dash board.
Fried Taco- January 3, 2013 at 9:25 am
FYI, I sent Dana an email letting him know that CP is working with the CWU, and referenced the article linked from their page. So you should be getting those press credentials any day now...
XENOPHON- January 3, 2013 at 8:33 am
@ cMAN - Yes Unions cost a few dollars out of each paycheck, and are far from perfect, but in every industry sector that pays the well, from actors and writers, truckers to athletes, and construction workers - including hospitality workers union pay is nearly always better for the averaged working man.

A weekly paycheck is not the only issue when talking about MMA fighters. The bigger issues sometimes revolve around labor disputes (like being fired after 3 losses), pay raises (paying fighters only $8-12k per fight twice a year), and providing for benefits and a semi-retirement fund.

If you ask me, MMA fighters that are typically really only mediocre take too much risk and place too much toil on their psychical and mental states for the chump change that any entertainment promotion pays. Compared to the other professional sports, MMA is awful.

I respect the fighters, not any of the entertianment promotions they work for. Yet, too many see pictures of Dana holding a grip of bills and driving Ferrari's and the Fertitta's doing the same in their shark skin suits or the 3-5 champion fighters out of more than 300 champion hopefuls that can crash their Bentley, laugh and make a joke about it.

I believe the fighters all need to wise up and quietly join or form a independent union. Most are young men, from trouble childhoods, not the best educated, and know absolutely little about to manage their natural talents without being taken advantage of from the best paid and best educated attorneys the Zuffa can afford.
cman- January 2, 2013 at 10:45 pm
Fuck them and fuck unions in general. Bunch of sell out 'pro labor' my ass bitches, they are pro union dues. They are the buggy whip of labor. Want to make something cost 3x as much and be made 1/2 the quality? unionize.
OPIO- January 2, 2013 at 9:14 pm
"And we have a match...
Jones "Bones" Jones will defend his belt against Anderson "The Spider" Silva"
XENOPHON- January 2, 2013 at 7:35 pm
Bob Reilly needs to be put out to pasture, he is horrible, or he needs to find a permanent spot with a lot of opus caementicium next to Hoffa.
XENOPHON- January 2, 2013 at 7:33 pm
Does anyone know which bank Zuffa uses?
XENOPHON- January 2, 2013 at 7:29 pm
Conspiracy Theory Thought:

Culinary Workers Union and their political ties in New York is different than in other places. The Fertitta's family mob connections/heritage come out of Texas.

Vegas hospitality run by the mob is not the same as those pulling the strings behind the scene in New York. These ties run back to both Chicago, and Italy-Europe.

If a deal is struck in NYC, and if the door can get propped opened in NYC, then others will follow. It will take place behind the scenes with very subtle concessions.

Hospitality is like the Trash Collections business, the mafia gets their fig no matter if you go to their hotels and convention centers, or if they come to your house once a week.

Surely there are a few people in Boston that would love to see the running with his tail between his legs Dana White, back for a visit on the East Coast.

Bob Reilly- January 2, 2013 at 3:04 pm
Pen Fifteen- January 2, 2013 at 3:02 pm
I do think their anti-MMA campaign is pretty dumb, but I also have a hard time faulting them for taking a "by any means necessary" approach to squeezing the Fertita's nuts. The sad thing is that the reactionary discourse among MMA fans seems to be outrage that they are denied opportunities for consumption rather than outrage at the shitty labor policies supported by the owners of Zuffa.
J.Jones- January 2, 2013 at 2:35 pm
@ Pen - I can't speak for Elias, but as the person who wrote the aforementioned phrase, I can say that I wrote it not out of a disagreement with the CWU's central beliefs regarding unions and worker pay, but rather due to the fact that they hide their true intentions behind a facade of "please, think of the children!"-type nonsense regarding the UFC and MMA in general, hence the labeling of them as "two-faced."
Pen Fifteen- January 2, 2013 at 2:25 pm
There's a beautiful irony to the constant laments on this site about how poorly the UFC pays its fighters when such assertions are juxtaposed with statements calling the CWU “two-faced, propaganda pushing arseholes.” It'd be a shame if all the bro-tards flying to Vegas for UFC fights had to pay an extra $0.50 to hit the buffet just so the slaves cooking on the line could make a living wage.
The12ozCurls- January 2, 2013 at 2:17 pm
That footage of Baroni turning Dave Menne's head into a speed bag NEVER gets old.