Anyone who knows me knows that I’m a huge fan of mixed martial arts and the Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC). Like most UFC fans in NY, it drives me insane that the sport isn’t legal here. If New Yorkers want to see a live event, the closest venue is in New Jersey. Yes, New Jersey. Who wants to have to do that?
UFC was originally banned in the 90s by Gov. George Pataki when it was considered by many to be “human cock fighting,” and even though it’s the fastest growing sport in the world (and even Gov. Pataki concedes it should be legalized now), it remains illegal in the state today. We’re one of only a few states that still don’t recognize UFC.
A lot has been made about a Las Vegas Culinary Union being the reason why the sport is still illegal. There has also been a lot written about the added jobs and tax revenue regular MMA events would bring to a state desperate for added jobs and tax revenue. This video also dives into the ways in which legal MMA would be good for NY.
Bottom line: Enough is enough. It’s time to get this done, and we at The Casale group wants to be the ones to do it.
There are a lot of ways we can finally legalize MMA in NY, but here are the top three…
GRASSROOTS – Where’s the “melt the phones” push directing people to call their local officials? Where are the events at schools which train in MMA? Where are the “Letter’s to the Editor” campaigns? Where are the rallies outside of Madison Square Garden and HSBC Arena highlighting the money that is going to New Jersey and Toronto instead of staying New York? It doesn’t matter how safely gerrymandered an elected official is. If enough people call them out, they’re going to listen.
SOCIAL MEDIA – Dana White speaks regularly about how the use of social media (Facebook, Twitter, etc.) is a major part of why the UFC has grown to be so successful. Where is the social media presence to bring MMA to NY? There have been Facebook pages supporting the effort which have popped up from time to time, but they never seem to last long and don’t get anything accomplished. A targeted social media campaign needs to be in place, not just to encourage fans and taxpayers to contact their local officials, but to give more of a human feel to the sport. It’s not just LHW Champion Jon Jones who would benefit, but also your neighbor on Long Island who trains and fights to put food on the table, yet has to leave the state to do so.
WEB ADS – Here’s an example of a web ad that would be effective. The culinary union in Las Vegas is standing in the way of bringing a UFC event to Madison Square Garden? Don’t attack the union, attack the fact that this Nevada based union is preventing New York union works from getting jobs and providing for their families. Stagehands, Teamsters, electricians…when there’s an event at The Garden, how many people working it aren’t with a union? And it’s not just The Garden, it’s UFC events in Albany, Buffalo, Rochester, and all around the state. The culinary union is preventing those workers from making extra money. That point needs to be made over and over again to personalize the issue.
Like I said, there is a lot more that should be done that isn’t currently being done, and these are just a few of the steps which need to be taken. However, we can save that for when we sit down with Dana White.