While things sure seem pretty good for the UFC at the moment, I’m starting to get this nervous feeling like Zuffa is playing a dangerous game of jenga and the tower is starting to get mighty unstable. Forget all that piddly shit I wrote a few days ago regarding rising costs and lowering returns. There are now two scandals that could very well change the future of the UFC forever:
1. The DSE lawsuit
At first glance, the lawsuit against DSE seems more like a face saving exercise. Who knows much money Zuffa will be able to squeeze out of the company in American courts? But now people are starting to talk about implications relating to the Fertittas’ gaming license. And that’s a big fucking deal:
Pride FC Worldwide is a company that was formed by Lorenzo and Frank Fertitta – the majority owners of Zuffa, LLC and the Ultimate Fighting Championship – to purchase the Pride brand name and related assets from Dream Stage Entertainment, Inc.
Because the Fertittas are involved in the gaming industry – they are part owners of Station Casinos – Dream Stage was supposed to go through a background check and drug testing to ensure compliance with the regulatory requirements of the Fertittas’ gaming license in Nevada.
Things are still foggy at the moment, but trust me when I say the UFC is but another amusement in the Fertittas’ toychest compared to their casino license. If shit starts smelling because of their involvement in MMA, I don’t doubt they’d drop everything to clear their names and hold onto their gambling empire.
2. The Xyience debacle
If the Fertittas dumping millions of dollars into a failing company that dumps it right back into the UFC isn’t fishy enough, now we have the latest accusation:
In order to secure a $325 million loan, the UFC needed to prove a certain amount of annual revenue from sponsors. So, they passed Xyience a bunch of money through questionable means, and Xyience passed it back to show that the UFC was taking in sponsorship revenue; without this arrangement, the UFC wouldn’t have gotten the loan.
So basically if you claim you’ve got big sponsors but the big sponsor is actually just you behind the curtains, then you don’t really have big sponsors. And that means you’re not being truthful. And what’s it called when you’re not truthful on a loan application? Fraud. Oh me oh my.
These two stories haven’t exploded yet and who knows, maybe nothing will come out of them. But I’m not about to ignore two stories which have the potential to affect the Fertittas’ gambling license. Because if it’s the license vs the UFC, you better believe the Fertittas will pick their license. Hell, who knows if they’d even be willing to tarnish their reputation at all in order to try and ride these out?