The UFC will have to wait at least another year to gain entry into the potentially lucrative New York market as mixed martial arts sanctioning stalled out in the Ways and Means Committee of the New York State Assembly for a third straight year on Monday.
Despite intense lobbying from UFC president Dana White, CEO Lorenzo Fertitta, vice president of regulatory affairs Marc Ratner and a handful of influential fighters, bill A4146A — which would establish “protocols for combative sports and authorizing mixed martial arts events” — didn’t even make the 26-bill agenda for Monday, the final day of the 2011 legislative session.
Despite passing through the assembly’s Tourism, Parks, Arts and Sports Development Committee with relative ease and clearing the assembly’s Codes Committee, the bill again was halted by the Ways and Means Committee.
Not a surprising conclusion, considering Denny Farrell’s, D-Manhattan’s recent opinion on MMA: “I don’t think very much of the sport,” Farrell said. “Next we’ll give them clubs with spikes on the end; that will be good.”
While a handful of other assemblymen have voiced their opinion that the support for sanctioning could actually be there if the bill ever came to a floor vote, Fertitta told ESPN last week that he believes the Culinary Union — which has powerful lobbying influence in New York, and have been in disagreement with Fertitta and his family’s Las Vegas-based Station Casinos for years — is the real roadblock.
“Unfortunately, we’ve got a viable opponent on the other side in the Culinary Union,” Fertitta told ESPN.com. “They have made it their mission to do whatever they can to be the stalwart and a pain in me and (brother and UFC co-owner) Frank’s side.
“At the end of the day, it is what it is. We can live without New York although it’s better to have it. But if they’re going to play those games, we’ve got to play those games.”
Going, going, gone
UFC 134, the highly-anticipated Aug. 27 event in Rio de Janeiro, sold out its allotment of nearly 17,000 tickets in just 74 minutes on Saturday.
The card’s first promotion in Brazil since “UFC Ultimate Brazil” in October of 1998, features a main event between middleweight champ Anderson Silva and Yushin Okami.
Okami is the last fighter to score a win over MMA’s widely recognized pound-for-pound king, as Silva was disqualified for an illegal kick in their non-UFC sanctioned bout in 2006. Since that setback Silva has won 14 matches in a row — including all 13 of his bouts inside the Octagon.
The main card also features a fight between former light heavyweight champs Forrest Griffin and Mauricio “Shogun” Rua, as well as Brazilian legend Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira facing Brendan Schaub.
Last week Nevada Gov. Brian Sandoval signed a bill that will increase random, out-of-competition drug testing for MMA, boxing and kickboxing events in the state.
Senate Bill No. 498 (which is funded through promoter taxes from the various combat events that take place in the Silver State) says that testing will be for “amateur and professional unarmed combatants at any time, including, without limitation, during any period of training.”
Nevada’s State Athletic Commission has had the power to test outside events since 2008, but didn’t always have the funding to utilize it — but will now.
By the numbers
UFC 130, which took place May 28 at the MGM Grand, officially drew 12,753 attendees for a live gate total of $2,577,250, according to figures released by NSAC Executive Director Keith Kizer on Monday.
Of the nearly 13,000 fans who watched Quinton “Rampage” Jackson easily defeat Matt Hamill in the main event, 5,283 attendees received complimentary (unpaid) tickets. An additional 1,100 tickets went unsold or unused.
Those numbers were considerably lower than last year’s Memorial Day card when Rashad Evans defeated Jackson. UFC 114, which also took place at the MGM Grand Garden Arena, drew 14,996 fans with a $3.985 million gate. But remember UFC 130 was supposed to feature a third meeting between lightweight champ Frankie Edgar and Gray Maynard, but both were injured during training camp.
Also released Monday were the figures from The Ultimate Fighter 13 Finale, which officially drew 2,053 fans and a $440,150 live gate for the June 4 event that took place at The Pearl at the Palms.
Those numbers were up slightly from TUF 12 Finale, which drew 1,903 and gate of $380,025 at the same venue in December.
Does UFC Know the Way to San Jose?
Fertitta told the The Los Angeles Times last week that UFC 138, which will feature a main event between heavyweight champ Cain Velasquez and top contender Junior Dos Santos, is tentatively set for Nov. 19 and likely to take place at the HP Pavilion in San Jose, Calif.
San Jose is the former headquarters of Strikeforce, which was acquired in March by UFC parent company Zuffa. The event would mark the UFC’s first-ever event in the Northern California city — which is also the training home of Velasquez.