Zuffa Plays Politics

November 20, 2007

The New York Daily News ran a story this week on Republican Presidential candidate Rudy Giuliani’s corporate backers. The headline read, “Rudy Giuliani jets to campaign stops using casino kingpin’s plane,” in reference to Giuliani’s use of corporate jets owned by Sheldon Adelson, the owner of the Las Vegas Sands Casinos and third richest man in America. However, the piece also noted several other corporate contributors including, “Zuffa LLC, a company whose creations include ‘Ultimate Fighting Championship,’ a particularly brutal hybrid of boxing and martial arts that critics have dubbed ‘human cockfighting.'”

It is not clear why the company would support Giuliani, however, a couple of potential explanations immediately come to mind. With the UFC expected to make a strong push for sanctioning in New York next year, Giuliani represents a powerful political friend to enlist in persuading the state government to embrace MMA. It is also possible that the Fertitta brothers might have chosen to support Giuliani on the basis of their gambling interests (presumably for the same reasons as Adelson) and simply choose to make the contributions through Zuffa in an attempt remain low key (notice that the article does not make the connection of Zuffa to the Fertittas and Station Casinos).

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