Just in case you thought the MMA in New York stuff couldn’t hurt your faith in democracy any more….
“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 Useful Pot. 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.
And Zuffa is not the only company lobbying to overturn the ultimate fighting ban. 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.
More figures noted in the article:
- $55,000 to the Cuomo campaign
- $50,000 to the Senate Republican Campaign Committee
- $50,000 to the Democratic Assembly Campaign Commitee
- $135,000 to various campaigns in 2010
- $35,000 to various campaigns in 2008
- $2,500,000 in total over 5 years on lobbying, PR consultants, ads, and campaign contributions.
And here I was thinking this would be one of the few times where lobbying might actually help advance something that doesn’t fuck the average guy over. Instead, it sounds like these New York douchebags are pocketing the money and laughing all the way to the bank.