NEW YORK NY - JANUARY 13: Dana White UFC President speaks during a press conference to announce commitment to bring UFC to Madison Square Garden and New York State at Madison Square Garden on January 13 2011 in New York City. (Photo by Michael Cohen/Getty Images)
That's the problem with gangsters. You get rid of one, like Whitey Bulger, and five more pop up in his place.
Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) President Dana White was roaming the streets of Manhattan yesterday to help promote his upcoming UFC on FOX 3 fight card, booked for the IZOD Center on May 5, 2012, in East Rutherford, NJ. The "Diaz vs. Miller" event is designed to bring live mixed martial arts (MMA) action to fans living in the five boroughs (and beyond).
True, the UFC still doesn't play in the "Empire State," but neither do the "New York" Giants.
Unfortunately for ZUFFA, parent company of the UFC, it's not because they don't want to, it's because they can't. As White explains, the "political crap" stemming from a longstanding beef with the "dirty guys" and "gangsters" from the Las Vegas Culinary Union, has had a ripple effect that reaches as far as the East Coast.
Those comments (via ESPN.com), after the jump.
"Why hasn't it happened? It's a lot of political crap. The union out in Las Vegas is the reason it hasn't happened as funny as that sounds. It has nothing to do with MMA or the UFC, it has to do with the union. My partners, the Fertitta brothers, own the fourth largest gaming company in the country and they're non-union and the Las Vegas union has been doing some dirty stuff. They're dirty guys. Gangsters! The culinary union in Las Vegas. The guys who run the culinary union in Las Vegas are dirty, dirty, dirty, dirty guys."
Ever since the state of New York imposed a ban on MMA in 1997, ZUFFA officials have been trying to somehow reverse it to hold an event in the "city that never sleeps." In fact, for the last four years, White, the Fertittas and several fighters on the UFC roster have been lobbying for the ban to be lifted.
The ban remains intact, despite the positive economic impact that a live UFC event would have on the state and surrounding areas. The UFC President has also expressed his desire to hold an event in the famed Madison Square Garden (MSG), stating that a show in the "world's most famous arena" would do very well monetarily for both the UFC and Manhattan.
So far, there hasn't been enough political pressure to get it done.