Politics not usual: UFC campaigns for Reid in Nevada

October 31, 2010

When the mid-term elections are held Tuesday, the UFC will be an interested party when voters hit the polls.

The UFC gave a helping hand to Senator Harry Reid of Nevada as he attempts to defeat challenger Sharron Angle. Reid, a notable UFC fan, has received received help from Dana White, Chuck Liddell, Frank Mir and Randy Couture. Recently, White and Liddell made an appearance with Reid at UNLV. Reid is a fan of the UFC and has even used tickets to sit with him and Dana White at a UFC event as a fundraiser.

UFC fighters were not the only sports figures endorsing Reid. As you may have seen on HBO’s 24/7 Saturday night, you saw Manny Pacquiao take a break from training to make an appearance on behalf of the Democrat from Nevada (according to the show, the appearance was made at the request of Bob Arum).

The Political web site, Politico, wrote about Reid using White, et al. as campaign endorsers.

Reid’s partnership with the UFC comes at a time when Democrats are delivering harsh criticisms of World Wrestling Entertainment under former CEO Linda McMahon, now the Republican Senate nominee in Connecticut.

But, the UFC’s support of Reid makes sense since he has been an ally of the UFC in its efforts to legalize the sport in New York.  Politico adds,
New York legalization is UFC’s “holy grail,” said Ted Butryn, professor of sports psychology and sociology at San Jose State University who studies the sport. “It makes perfect sense that Dana White would look for powerful friends like Harry Reid.”

Payout Perspective:

White and the UFC are new to political campaigns. However, politicians see the popularity the UFC has with the 18-34 male demographic and hope that its endorsement will help. Conversely, the UFC hopes its involvement in politics will curry favor for its interests (e.g., NY regulation).

It is interesting to note that Republican Randy Couture actively came out to campaign for Reid. His endorsement makes valid sense since Reid’s support could help the expansion of the UFC.

It may be hard to judge to see whether the UFC influence helped or hurt Senator Reid, but the partnership of Reid and the UFC reflects the popularity the UFC has with the 18-34 demographic.

6 Responses to “Politics not usual: UFC campaigns for Reid in Nevada”

  1. Not Sharon Angle on November 1st, 2010 6:38 AM

    It is one thing to give money,it is another entirely to make appearances. That is another level of commitment. I am not sure it is a wise business decision. If Reid loses, you may have an enemy on your own turf. Unless Reid is up significantly up in the polls, which he is not (I believe he is slightly down), it wouldn’t be wise to make waves.

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  4. Jeremy on November 1st, 2010 7:16 PM

    The event was a Get Out The Vote rally, not regular campaign appearance. As I understand it, White pushed voting and declined to talk about his own views when asked about them.

    Not as big a thing as an endorsement or if they were campaigning FOR Reid.

  5. Jason Cruz on November 1st, 2010 9:36 PM

    I think the Politico article states that Randy Couture endorsed Reid. The article also reports that Frank Mir taped a tv ad on Reid’s behalf. Also, White held a fundraiser for Nevada Sec of State Ross Miller, a Democrat. I don’t think that the UFC leans Democrat or Republican…I think they support people that have supported it.

    Reid was a former boxer and Miller trained at the UFC facility in Vegas. So, it makes sense that they would be more open to UFC.

    Also, the Fertitta family are supporters of Reid which is one likely reason why Reid has been open to the UFC and why the UFC has supported Reid.

  6. Tom on November 4th, 2010 3:57 PM

    Major companies (and their owners & execs) generally strive to be a-political and will support the parties and candidates who best serve their narrow interests. There are a few exceptions – George Soros on the Left, the Koch brothers on the right – but most companies spread their campaign donations around in order to best advance their agenda. Companies all have one primary purpose – to increase profits for their owners. Whichever candidates helps a company meet that end gets the campaign $$.

    According to his Forbes profile (http://www.forbes.com/profile/lorenzo-fertitta), Lorenzo Fertitta primarily has donated to Republicans 2-to-1 over Dems for the last few election cycles. However, Harry Reid has been a big champion of MMA and Reid’s influence as the Senate Majority Leader (arguably the 3rd most powerful position in American government, behind only the President and Speaker of the House) can and should help get MMA regulated in NY. If I were the Fertitta’s and Dana White, I’d be showering Reid with campaign cash, too.

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