In the wake of New York's failure to legalize and regulate MMA by the end of the 2011 legislative calendar (last June), Zuffa continues to push their narrative that culinary union resistance is blocking MMA in our state; despite any clear evidence supporting such a story. In recent media appearances, Dana White and Lorenzo Fertitta have essentially suggested that New York Assembly leadership (read Speaker Sheldon Silver) is in the union's pocket.
In a nutshell, Zuffa's story goes like this:
Majority UFC owners, Frank Fertitta III & Lorenzo Fertitta, also own the non-union Station Casino chain in Nevada. Station Casinos have been involved in a long and arduous battle with Unite Here and its member unions in Nevada (the now bankrupt Station Casinos often on the losing end). In retribution against the Fertittas, Unite Here is blocking MMA in NY through the local cullinary uinion.
Rather than rewrite an entire editorial on the topic, I have continually updated my May 13th editorial as this story has developed over the past months. At the bottom of the page you will find a timeline of stories related to the development of this story. Please take some time to review the evidence and varied opinions for yourself. I am sure many of you are seeing the various stories in the press, scratching your head, and thinking to yourself "this union story does not make sense". And, you are right. It does not make sense. Where was the union resistance in Pennsylvania, Massachusetts, West Virginia, and other states to recently regulate MMA?
What does make sense is that Zuffa's apparent policy of pushing this union story and airing their own dirty laundry (regardless of whether the unions are actually offering significant resistance) is shooting us in the foot here in New York. Zuffa continually presents themselves as the only faction of the sport that really matters. Many non-fans believe that the UFC is the sport, not that the UFC is part of the sport. In reality, the UFC would only be a small part of the New York MMA community. Yet, the average voter and legislator will associate the Fertittas and their questionable practices in Nevada with the the Sport of MMA as a whole.
While this strategy may allow the Fertittas to take a few shots at their Nevada opponents, it can't be good for New York MMA.