An update on Zuffa-NY lawsuit and 3 proposed bills re MMA in Albany

February 27, 2014

Zuffa and lawyers for the Attorney General of New York have filed an amended discovery plan which looks to depose certain individuals as it relates to Zuffa’s lawsuit against New York.  In addition, Lohud.com reports on the latest happenings with the future of professional MMA in New York.

Notably, the Lohud.com article reports on three major bills which addresses the regulation of MMA in the state.

One bill would allow professional bouts in the state.  Another bill would lift the ban only if an injury fund for fighters is set up and another would put a moratorium of two years on all MMA matches.

The article quotes a representative from the National Organization of Women stating that it would continue to oppose the legalization of professional MMA in the state.  Women groups have expressed concern over the messaging and violence of the sport.  Examples of their concern include recent statements by Dana White where he used the word “pussification” and actions by UFC fighter at the time Thiago Silva which included alleged violence toward his estranged wife.

And, of course, labor unions were mentioned as an obstacle for Zuffa in the state.

Of the three proposed bills that will be introduced this spring is one that would put a halt to MMA in the state (including amateur bouts) until a study on the health impacts of MMA will be performed.  I would assume that this would come out of a part of the state budget.  The other bill allowing MMA in the state with conditions has promoters coming up with a “compensation fund for injured fighters.”  It would also create a presumption that “any neurological later discovered in a fighter were caused by their participation in MMA.” (via Lohud.com).

There are inherent problems with the two bills that would presumably allow MMA in the state with certain conditions.

Payout Perspective:

As we’ve written year after year, hope springs eternal for professional MMA in Albany.  This time around we are presented with some interesting proposals which we will track.  Obviously, there is only one of the three bills listed that Zuffa would be interested in supporting.  From the public relations perspective, the Thiago Silva situation is bad PR for the UFC but realistically, like all sports leagues (e.g. Raymond Felton), it’s hard to avoid.  Moreover, the UFC was quick to act in dismissing Silva.  But, it supports anti-MMA advocates as recent examples of its position.  White’s comments reflect the good and bad of having a promoter speak from the hip.  He is going to say what he means without a filter but that is not always good for business.  We can only surmise that White did not think that his comments could be seen as derogatory towards women, otherwise he would not have said it.  But, that’s the problem.

Regarding the lawsuit, the discovery phase will be complete by April 25, 2014.  At this point, New York has identified three individuals that it will depose.  Zuffa has identified “persons most knowledgeable” at the AG of the State of New York, the New York State Liquor Authority, the New York State Athletic Commission and the New York State Department of State as well as Melvina Lathan.  She is a former boxing judge and chairperson to the NY State Athletic Commission.  Here is a 2010 article on her from the NY Times in which she wanted the state to legalize MMA.

MMA Payout will continue to keep you posted of the lawsuit as well as the political maneuvering in Albany.

3 Responses to “An update on Zuffa-NY lawsuit and 3 proposed bills re MMA in Albany”

  1. BrainSmasher on February 27th, 2014 6:58 PM

    That’s ridiculous. You cant blame White for them twisting what he said to mean something we all know has nothing to do with woman. That group was reaching. IF he didn’t say that they would have leached onto something else. We shouldn’t excourage anyone to take a PC approach so we can be lied to while people are afraid to speak their mind. Why should Dana act like a robot to appease a group that no one should be respecting? This group is in bed with the Culinary Union. Their stance has nothing to do with woman’s rights.

  2. Diego on February 28th, 2014 7:10 AM

    I wonder if the representatives from NOW have spoken to Cyborg and Rousey. It may give them a different perspective on the sport. Then again BS is probably right and NOW is getting money from the Culinary Union so they have to oppose Zuffa regardless of logic.

  3. Diego on February 28th, 2014 7:12 AM

    If the standard for a sport being banned in New York is that a participant in the sport makes a statement that can be construed as misogynistic or is involved in domestic abuse, I think that pretty much means we won’t have any sports in New York.

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