SBD/April 30, 2013/Leagues and Governing Bodies

UFC Spent $1.6M On Lobbying In New York Since '07 In Pursuit Of MMA Legalization

UFC parent company Zuffa since '07 has "spent more than $1 million on lobbying" and the company and its subsidiaries "have made $594,200 in campaign contributions" in New York, according to Kenneth Lovett of the N.Y. DAILY NEWS. The "bulk of the lobbying expenses and campaign donations have occurred" since '10 as the "effort to legalize the controversial sport in New York intensified." No one has "benefited more" than Gov. Andrew Cuomo, who has "received $180,600, or 30.4% of Zuffa’s total donations in New York" since '07. The state Senate has "passed legislation to legalize mixed martial arts four times only to see it die in the Assembly." UFC officials argue that MLS in spending "more than" $2M last year "spent twice as much on lobbying in New York than UFC has" since '07. UFC VP/Regulatory Affairs Marc Ratner said that "all his group wants is a vote in the Assembly, where 63 of the 150 members have signed on to the bill so far" (N.Y. DAILY NEWS, 4/29).

FIGHT CLUB: In N.Y., Christopher Clarey wrote One Fighting Championship CEO Victor Cui is the "would-be king of mixed martial arts in Asia." Cui said, "I believe in 10 years, mixed martial arts will be the most popular sport in Asia, ahead of soccer, ahead of everything." Cui "has done his due diligence, recruited wealthy backers, including the Singapore Economic Development Board, and uncovered what he says is the chance of a lifetime." Cui: "When I first crunched the numbers, I thought, 'I have it wrong; I made a mistake.'" One FC's “approach is pan-Asian: what Cui calls a Champions League approach to MMA.” Last year, One FC “signed a 10-year agreement for undisclosed terms" with Fox Star Sports. On April 5, the net "broadcast a One FC event live for the first time, reaching 28 countries in Asia and about 70 worldwide." Cui said that One FC "has 12 events scheduled this year in six Asian countries." He has “announced plans to stage 24 events” in '14. Cui also has "expressed a longer-range desire to move into the Middle East, including Turkey" (NYTIMES.com, 4/29).
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