Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Incredible - Bob Reilly's First Answer to a Question At Political Debate Involves "Ultimate Fighting"

During Assemblyman Reilly's debate with Jennifer Whalen on Monday night, his very first answer to a question was all about his opposition to "ultimate fighting."  The video from the debate is here

I can't say I am surprised given that this is the only issue where he seems to gain any attention outside of his jurisdiction, but if that is the first issue you can point to in a debate within your jurisdiction and before your constituents after serving in the Assembly since 2004, I think this is laughable.

The most troubling part of his answer is evident when viewed in the context of the question that he purported to respond to. 

Specifically, he was asked:  "Can you point to a specific piece of legislation [] that has benefited the taxpayers of New York State?"

His response:
Probably the single effort that I did, and I won’t say that it's the most important, is my single effort to keep ultimate fighting out of New York State. And why those who advocate this violent and vicious sport for the reason that it will bring money to this state, I, in fact, claim it will not. The owners of ultimate fighting [sic] who have recently spent $174,000, giving that money to various legislators and political parties and have paid their lobbyists $10,000 a month for a number of years are in fact in bankruptcy court in Las Vegas at this very moment to the tune of $7 billion. These are the people who some people advocate bringing in to New York.  I'm proud of the fact that almost single-handedly I have kept this out of New York not only because violence begets violence and it’s not what we should have in our state, but also it ultimately saves us money by not having this sport in New York.
Putting aside the flaws in his arguments which have been discussed here and elsewhere ad nauseam, I am not sure about you, but if the very first thing my representative had to say specifically on legislation that benefited the taxpayers of New York (and in a debate on state and local issues of importance and at a time when unemployment is high and people are hurting), is that he has kept "ultimate fighting" out of the state, I would swiftly kick that representative to the curb.

He was not done of course. In response to the question concerning what bill he will write and work for if he is reelected, he, again, after acknowledging that it is not a bill that he will work for (i.e. he acknowledges it is not in response to the question), states he will be working against the bill to bring "ultimate fighting" to this state.

He is a joke and the people in the 109th should vote him out next week.

Fight Lawyer

More Potential Bad News For Mikey Burnett -- Zuffa et al. May Seek Their Attorneys' Fees

Following up on my post, Zuffa's Motion For Summary Judgment In Burnett Case Granted -- Burnett's Only Claim Dismissed, it now appears that despite having settled with the insurer in the case, Burnett may have trouble on the horizon in the form of Zuffa's attorneys' fees.

On October 22, 2010, Tufguy Productions, Inc., Ultimate Fighting Productions, LLC, and Zuffa, Inc. d/b/a Ultimate Fighting Championship filed their opposition to Burnett's Motion for Release of Bond Obligations (Burnett's motion was filed the same date). 

In their opposition, these defendants indicate that they "anticipate" filing a motion for their attorneys' fees that "may be awardable pursuant to their contract with Plaintiff."

I have no clue what Burnett settled for, but given that this case has been going on for over two-years with significant motion practice, these fees could be quite high.  I also do not know what specific provisions of the agreements at issue would entitle these defendants to fees, but I will continue to monitor.

Fight Lawyer

Monday, October 25, 2010

Assemblyman (30-year pub owner) Bob Reilly's Second Debate With Jennifer Whalen Tonight

New York Assemblyman (and former 30-year pub owner) Bob Reilly will be debating his challenger for the 109th District Assembly seat, Jennifer Whalen, tonight.  The debate takes place at 7:00 p.m. at the Clifton Park-Halfmoon Library.  If you are local, you should go out and support Whalen.

On another note, I stumbled across Reilly's Facebook page, Reilly's Running.   Ignoring the funny picture of him running in a "reilly's running" yellow shirt, there is not much there about MMA, but he does point his fans to the article at, "Reilly to Reid: This is our ring." 

Fight Lawyer

Friday, October 22, 2010

Bellator's Reply In Support Of Its Motion To Dismiss -- Rebney Says Bellator Deliberately Avoids Nevada Because He Claims "UFC Has A Reputation For Attempting To Ruthlessly Block Competition"

I just got through reading Bellator's reply to Zuffa's response to its motion to dismiss.  I have previously written about this case in my posts, My Take on Zuffa's Lawsuit Against Pavia and Bellator, Bellator Removes Zuffa's Nevada Action to Federal Court, Bellator Files A Motion to Dismiss Zuffa's Complaint, and Zuffa Responds To Bellator's Motion To Dismiss in Pavia Action.

As you probably guessed, in its reply brief Bellator largely attempts to downplay its (and Rebney's) alleged contacts with Nevada. 

Specifically, Bellator argues, inter alia, that:
  • "Zuffa does not even allege that substantial tickets to Bellator events are purchased by Nevada residents, and as the Rebney Declaration attests, visitors of the website are not even able to purchase tickets directly through the Bellator site."
  • "the fact that 6 out of the hundreds of fighters with which Bellator signed contracts currently reside in or train out of Las Vegas does not demonstrate that Bellator serves the Nevada markets or conducts business in the state sufficient to establish general jurisdiction."   
  • "all of Bellator’s contracts designate a choice of law and jurisdiction other than Nevada’s."
  • "The further fact that one woman who spends part of her time in Las Vegas, won a contest to become a “Bellator girl,” and that Mr. Rebney once traveled to Las Vegas to attend a single awards show present such attenuated “contacts” with Nevada as to barely warrant discussion."
The most interesting part of Bellator's latest filing, in my opinion at least, comes from Bjorn Rebney's affidavit in support of the motion. 

First, is this statement:
Bellator early on made a policy decision to stay out of Nevada. This decision was based upon the fact that we did not wish to compete with the UFC there and because the UFC has a reputation for attempting to ruthlessly block competition. As a cost/benefit analysis it simply was not worth it to attempt to enter the Nevada market.
Second, is Rebney's explanation concerning an "inadvertent error" in a prior filing:
I believe it fair to correct an inadvertent error in a prior filing. I did not believe that any fighter under contract to Bellator as an independent contractor was a resident of Nevada. This is because I believed we had never conducted negotiations for the services of any fighters in Nevada and I assumed that they were located where their managers/agents were located. I did not even recognize the name of Jessica Rakoczy out of the hundreds of fighters with whom we have contracted. However, in checking, it is true that some were or are Nevada residents. I do not believe that contracting with a Nevada resident through negotiations which occur elsewhere for services to take place in other jurisdictions give rise to jurisdiction in Nevada, nor would the described contract with Ms. Rakoczy.
Finally, is Rebney's explanation concerning the now infamous email in the complaint:
Plaintiffs seem to be making bootstrap argument that since I allegedly sought documents that they allege to be confidential and since they are based in Nevada that somehow creates jurisdiction. First, I absolutely deny seeking what I understood to be confidential documents and I absolutely deny receiving the contracts of any fighter then contracted to the UFC.

Fight Lawyer

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Zuffa's Motion For Summary Judgment In Burnett Case Granted -- Burnett's Only Claim Dismissed

Following up on my posts, Mikey Burnett Lawsuit From 2008 Relating to His Alleged Injury On Season Four Of The Ultimate Fighter Still Pending, Mikey Burnett Lawsuit Heading to A Settlement Conference, and Mikey Burnett Reached Settlement With Insurer-Litigation Continues With Zuffa & Zuffa Faces Possible Sanction, on October 20, 2010 Judge Gloria M. Navarro of the United States District Court for the District of Nevada granted defendants Tufguy Productions, Inc.’s ("Tufguy"), Ultimate Fighting Productions, LLC’s ("UFP"), and Zuffa, LLC’s d.b.a. Ultimate Fighting Productions ("Zuffa") Motion for Summary Judgment dismissing Burnett's negligence claim because she held that the waivers in the various agreements Burnett signed in order to participate on the Ultimate Fighter 4 were perfectly valid and enforceable against the negligence claim.

The Court summarized the facts and procedural history, in relevant part, as follows (internal citations omitted):
According to the Second Amended Complaint (“SAC”), on or about June 10, 2006, Plaintiff Michael Burnett participated in Tufguy’s “Ultimate Fighter 4” television show. As a result--presumably during a fight, although not explicitly so stated in the SAC--Plaintiff suffered a spinal injury. At that time, Plaintiff was insured under an accident and health insurance policy issued by Defendant National Union Fire Insurance Co. of Pittsburgh, PA (“NUFIC”), Policy No. 009109179 (“the Policy”). Plaintiff alleges that although he has fulfilled all conditions precedent to NUFIC’s performance under the Policy, NUFIC has failed to make a reasonable offer and payment under the Policy in connection with his injuries, and that NUFIC, despite numerous requests, has failed to provide him with even a true and correct copy of the Policy. . . .Plaintiff brings three causes of action: (1) Negligence (against Tufguy, Zuffa, and UFP); (2) Breach of Contract (against NUFIC); and (3) Breach of the Covenant of Good Faith and Fair Dealing (against NUFIC). The Court has denied a motion to dismiss the SAC for lack of prosecution. After inviting blind briefs on the issue of improper removal, the Court declined to remand. Defendants Tufguy, Zuffa, and UFP now move for summary judgment on the sole cause of action pled against them: negligence.
In its analysis, the Court found it "mysterious" that through two-years of proceedings the source of the alleged injury has not been articulated.  Specifically, the opinion provides:
It is unclear from the SAC how the injury is alleged to have occurred or what actions Defendants took or failed to take in violation of their alleged duty to ensure Plaintiff’s safety. Perhaps a referee who was an agent of one or more Defendants failed to stop a fight after Plaintiff had submitted under the rules or been knocked unconscious, but this appears unlikely, because Plaintiff has sued no opponent for battery for exceeding the scope of his consent. Perhaps Plaintiff was injured by faulty equipment or dangerous property conditions at a fight venue, but this also appears unlikely, because Plaintiff has sued no manufacturer, retailer, or real property owner. The negligence claim has remained somewhat mysterious for the almost two years that this claim has been pending.
The Court notes that the negligence claim could be dismissed because Burnett has failed to allege specific acts or admissions sufficient to establish a prima facie case of negligence.

However, because defendants did not move for summary judgment on this ground, the Court turns to Zuffa's argument for dismissal, which is "based purely on contractual waiver[s] of liability" contained in the: "(1) Exclusive Promotional and Ancillary Rights Agreement ("the Zuffa Agreement") ; (2) Ultimate Fighter Applicant Agreement ("the Tufguy Agreement); and (3) Ultimate Fighter Waiver and Release, Assumption of the Risk, and Indemnity Agreement ("the Waiver and Release")."

The Court provides an analysis of the relevant language from each agreement and holds as follows:
Defendants have met their initial burden on summary judgment to show that there is no genuine issue of material fact that they are not liable on Plaintiff’s negligence claim. Under the agreements, Plaintiff both assumed the risk of his alleged injuries and covenanted not to sue. The burden now shifts to Plaintiff to adduce evidence showing a genuine issue of material fact as to liability. In response, Plaintiff argues that because Defendant NUFIC breached its separate contract to insure Plaintiff, it is unconscionable for any Defendant to claim that it is released from liability. NUFIC is not a moving party and has not joined the present motion. Only the non-NUFIC Defendants have moved for summary judgment, and only on the negligence claim, which is not pled against NUFIC.
The Court addresses Burnett's procedural and substantive unconscionability arguments and concludes that he has not met his burden.

Notably, with respect to Burnett's substantive unconscionability argument, i.e. plaintiff's argument that "the Zuffa Agreement--but not the others--is substantively unconscionable because it 'does not allow for any remedy for Plaintiff should Defendant breach,'" the Court recognizes that plaintiff "quotes a portion of the agreement that in fact permits Plaintiff to seek redress for any breach of the agreement by Zuffa if Zuffa fails to cure the alleged breach within ten days" and holds that "none of the moving Defendants are moving to dismiss a breach of contract claim, and Plaintiff has brought no such claim against the moving Defendants. He has brought only a negligence claim against these Defendants, and Plaintiff’s ability to sue Zuffa for breach of contract does not somehow render the waivers of liability for personal injuries nullities."

Thus, and despite having found that the waivers in the agreements are perfectly valid and enforceable against the negligence claim, the Court then gives plaintiff one potential ("implausible") opening to continue his action against Zuffa.

Specifically, the Court states as follows:
If Plaintiff wishes to amend his complaint to plead a breach of contract cause of action against Zuffa, Tufguy, and/or UFP predicated on NUFIC’s denial of benefits under the Policy, he may move to do so, although such a claim seems implausible without an allegation that one or more of these Defendants was the claims administrator. But such allegations would still have nothing whatsoever to do with the substantive fairness of the agreements containing the waivers against liability for personal injury. Plaintiff has simply not made any argument indicating procedural or substantive unconscionability of the Zuffa Agreement, Tufguy Agreement, or Waiver and Release at the time they were entered into.
Fight Lawyer

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Bob Reilly Debate With Jennifer Whalen Tomorrow at 7:55 a.m. In Latham -- Hopefully MMA Will Come Up

According to YNN, tomorrow from 7:55 to 9:00 a.m. Assemblyman Bob Reilly will debate his challenger Jennifer WhalenIf you are in the area, here is the location of the debate and a link to a map -- no reservation is required

As an aside, I have no clue why anyone would agree to a debate this early in the morning -- usually these debates are at night--or why the debate is listed as starting at 7:55.

In any event, I think the debate will be streaming live at YNN, but if not a link should be available after it is completed and I will post it.

Given that Whalen apparently supports the legalization of MMA and has, in the past, taken Reilly to task for his opposition on the issue, I am hopeful the issue will be debated tomorrow.

By way of background, and as set forth in an article in CN.Weekly, during a Republican pre-primary debate back in August, Jennifer Whalen and James Whalen (no relation) faced off on a number of issues.  One issue they could agree on was that Bob Reilly's preoccupation with opposing MMA demonstrated that he is out of touch with the constituents in his district:

Specifically, as set forth in an article:
Both candidates took Reilly to task for his position opposing the legalization of mixed martial arts in the state.
James Whalen, who said on several occasions that defeating Reilly was of primary importance, saw the issue as an example where Reilly has lost touch with the residents of the district. Jennifer Whalen favored legalizing the fights as a way to bridge part of the state’s deficit.
I am looking forward to, hopefully, hearing Reilly defend his positions on MMA in the face of a credible live opponent.

Fight Lawyer

New York Mixed Martial Arts Initiative Has A Logo

Thanks to Jesse at Mixed Martial Marketing (for donating his time and effort), the New York Mixed Martial Arts Initiative -- a non-profit helping high school kids in East Harlem learn self defense/MMA after school -- now has an awesome logo:

For those of you who don't know, the folks at Mixed Martial Marketing:
provide design and marketing services that help you to differentiate your business from the all the pretenders. No flying skulls or McDojos here. We help people and brands to identify, establish, and elevate themselves in the crowded marketplace.
The company provides a number of services listed here and it is uniquely positioned to help (and deals exclusively with) businesses and websites in the MMA and combat sports arena.  Jesse's dedication to the industry is evidenced by his willingness to help out the NYMMAI non-profit pro bono.

Jesse and his team also designed the website header and background for this website.  The turnaround time from our initial conversation to completion was less than a week and Jesse understood from just one conversation exactly what I was looking for and he nailed it.

If you haven't done so already, check out the website and, if you are in need of website work, support businesses like Mixed Martial Marketing that give back.

Fight Lawyer

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

California Court of Appeal Denies Margarito's Appeal Seeking to Set Aside CSAC Revocation of his License

On October 14, 2010, the Court of Appeal of the State of California, Second Appellate District, Division Two, affirmed the Los Angeles County Superior Court's "denial of [Margarito's] petition for writ of mandate seeking to compel" CSAC "to set aside its order revoking Margarito's professional boxing license."  Note that this appeal followed from the CSAC's decision to revoke Margarito's license in 2009, i.e. the appeal was not taken from the more recent hearing (really sideshow) in August where the CSAC denied Margarito's request for a license.   

The Court of Appeal summarized the prior proceedings as follows:
After revocation of his license, Margarito filed a petition for writ of mandate to set aside the Commission's decision, arguing that professional boxing rules 323 and 390 do not provide for strict or vicarious liability and that the Commission erred as a matter of law by revoking his license on that basis. Margarito argued that the Commission violated his due process rights by changing its theory of liability during the course of the administrative hearing. He maintained that the Commission's January 27, 2009 'charging' letter stated that the enforcement action against him was based on specific language in rule 390 authorizing the Commission to sanction a licensee who 'conducts himself or herself . . . in a manner which is determined by the commission to reflect discredit to boxing' but that the Commission changed its theory to one of strict liability during the course of the hearing. Margarito further contended that the Commission violated his due process rights by withholding key evidence.

The trial court denied Margarito's petition, concluding that a 'violation of rule 323 . . . in and of itself is punishable under the second prong of section 390.' The trial court expressly rejected Margarito's argument that the Commission's 'charging' letter initially suspending Margarito's license misinformed him about the proposed charges and precluded the Commission from holding Margarito strictly liable for violating rule 323: 'I don't think that there's anything in the administrative record -- at least what you've cited me to, that showed that [Margarito] was mischarged or misinformed about what he was being charged with.' In its written ruling, the trial court stated: 'The Commission was correct in determining that [Margarito's] license can be revoked for his violation of the hand wrap rule whether [Margarito] knew what his trainer was doing or not.'
This appeal followed.
In its 16 page decision, the Court of Appeal concluded "that no due process violation occurred and that the professional boxing rules allowed the Commission to hold Margarito strictly liable for the rule violation that occurred here and to revoke his license on that basis." It therefore affirmed the judgment.

Fight Lawyer

Monday, October 18, 2010

New York State Senate, 26th District, Debate Tonight -- Liz Krueger & Saul Farber

I am often asked by people in New York who follow this blog, "how can I get involved?"  Well other than some earlier advice, including writing letters, e-mails, and calling your elected representatives (in the Assembly and the State Senate), tonight there is a debate that is open to the public between State Senator Liz Krueger and challenger Saul Farber

Here is a link to the debate invite.  You will also note that Assemblyman Bing will be debating his challengers for the New York State Assembly, 73rd District, on Tuesday.  He is one of the co-sponsors of the bill in the Assembly to legalize MMA.

As you can see from my earlier posts, Liz Krueger has publicly voiced her opposition to the legalization of mixed martial arts in New York after the bill passed the Senate this year.  I have previously posted my correspondence with Liz Krueger -- where I take her to task for inaccurately describing the very legislation that she voted to oppose.

Admittedly, I did not know much about her challenger, but yesterday I met with Saul Farber and discussed the election and MMA in particular. 

Overall, he seems like a good guy with a solid grasp of the issues.  For his take on a number of issues you can visit his website linked to above.

During my conversation with Saul, I described my experience with Senator Krueger concerning her opposition to MMA and asked him where he stood on the legalization of MMA.

Although he admitted that he had not thought about this specific issue in great depth as he has been focusing on the larger issues affecting New Yorkers, he seemed to be in favor of legalization -- or at least open to considering the issue, unlike Liz Krueger.

Unfortunately, I will not be able to make it to the debate tonight.  I will, however, be attending an event to support Mr. Farber -- and to hear more about his positions on the relevant issues -- tomorrow night at the Friars Club.  If you are interested in attending that event please send me an email and I will get you the details.

Fight Lawyer

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Reflecting On My Trip To East Harlem To Watch The High School Kids Train -- An Eye-Opening Experience

On Thursday, October 14, 2010 I headed up to East Harlem to watch the kids in the self defense/MMA after school program in action

I wanted to take the opportunity to talk to them about the after school program and other ideas that we have to assist them both in their quest to learn in the program and out of the program.

Admittedly, I do not spend much time up in Harlem and so even the walk from the subway (the 6 train) to the school was educational in that it was readily apparent that where these kids live is vastly different than where I live in midtown. 

(All photos courtesy of Photos That Give:

I also can admit that I have never been inside a New York public school and upon entering, and passing the security desk, it was apparent that the school was very different than the large public high school I went to in the Maryland suburbs. 

My high school, for example was two floors (if I recall correctly) and this school was five -- like most things in New York everything is built towards the sky.  Also, my high school had close to 1,700 students and this school had somewhere in the neighborhood of 350.

I had the pleasure of meeting and speaking with the principal of the high school on this visit and he told me that the number of students fluctuates--some students (with no explanation) don't show up for a month or two and then return and in some instances the students don't return at all.  I quickly learn that the day-to-day at an inner-city school -- and the challenges posed to the administration and the faculty -- is dramatically different than what I experienced at a public school in the suburbs. 

I climbed the steps to the fifth floor cafeteria where I was greeted by David Grodsky the instructor -- and the the group of enthusiastic smiling kids--8 or so in total.  The kids were ethnically diverse, e.g., Puerto Rican, Dominican, Mexican, and African American, much like their neighborhood and ranged in age from 14-19.

One or two had been turned away that day because they had missed class.  The program is strict as described by David--you cut class you don't participate and you are not even permitted to watch.  Same is true if grades become an issue.  The program creates an incentive for these kids to stay in class and to succeed academically. 

David notes that the goal of the program is not just to teach these kids self defense and to keep them off the streets -- it is to teach them responsibility and to hopefully keep them on the right track so that they can succeed after high school.  In addition, the program promotes teamwork, discipline, and self control and helps to keep the kids in shape and to combat childhood obesity.  David explains that one of his goals is to create a closer relationship with the students so that he can stay on top of them if they miss class -- or miss a day of school -- because through the program he can gain more access to the students and ideally earn the students' respect. 

One participant on this day was a student who participated in the program for two-years prior to graduating and he is now a student at John Jay College over by Lincoln Center.  The take-away from his presence on this day--the program works. 

David briefly introduces me to the group -- a group that is all smiles -- and I talk to them about who I am, what I do, why I am there, and what our goals are for the program.  David notes that it is important for these kids to realize that there are people out there -- like me -- who are supporting them outside of the day to day program because, for many of them at least, they have never been given support and assistance with no strings attached. 

I ask the kids if they would be interested in training at an academy in the city on the weekends or the evenings, they say yes, noting that they don't have the money to do so.  I explain that this is one of the goals of the non-profit, i.e. to provide an outside opportunity for these kids to train.  I also ask if they would be interested in attending a grappling tournament; the answer, yes.  Hopefully, we can coordinate a trip to the Expo next month so the kids can see the Renzo Gracie tournament taking place. We talk about summer jobs around the city and the kids express how difficult it was last summer to find jobs.  I tell them that this is another goal of the program, i.e. to help them gain exposure to and experience at businesses around the city.

We talk about the Everlast gear that was so generously donated and they express their excitement that they were able to receive the great gear.

I also explain to the students that likely unbeknownst to them, they are not just learning skills--they are gaining intangibles like self confidence, respect, and sportsmanship.

The students are engaged.  They ask me questions about my martial arts background, about jiu jitsu in particular (what is it?) I explain the history of the Gracie family and the introduction of jiu jitsu to the mainstream with the early UFCs.  Much to my surprise, the kids don't really watch much fighting on TV -- in fact, it seemed that most of them don't watch fighting at all. 

With the introductions complete, the students begin their training.  It starts with takedowns.  Each student is told to pick a takedown and execute.  There are hip throws and single and double leg takedowns. 

David watches closely and offers tips and instruction where necessary.  David is in charge of the Conflict Mediation program at the school and his martial arts experience helps in that role.  David began training in martial arts at a young age, learning judo and kung fu.  Later he trained in tai chi, kickboxing, various wrestling and grappling arts, including Russian Sambo where he earned his black belt and has been an instructor in a few gyms and was on a few fight teams.  His experience is evident (as is his teaching experience) as he demonstrated a solid technical knowledge and was able to answer kids' inevitable questions, e.g., while teaching the guillotine he was asked how to defend and seamlessly moved to a demonstration of proper defense.

On this day, there is a freshman who has shown up for the first time.  Initially he says he just wants to watch, but with David's guidance and the other kids' encouragement, he quickly jumps into the mix and starts to work the takedowns.  David instructs the other students to help him and be conscious of the fact that he is new.  The students respect David -- or Mr. Grodsky as they call him.

Next, the kids work takedowns to submissions -- first, hip throw to arm bar.  Some students are better than others and they work together to perfect the move.  David watches closely and, again, demonstrates the proper execution of the arm bar.  This pattern continues for the next hour or so with guard passes and some submission work and now it is time to spar.

David turns on the timer and the students (only two on the mats at a time) are paired up based on size and skill and they grapple under David's watchful eye.  They are intense -- as intense as students at any academy I have trained -- but they are all smiles.  One student has a wide grin on his face the entire time -- even when he is taken down.  Of course, he is offered a hand and helped back up. 

The freshman who has shown up for his first time asks to roll with a more experienced student.  David instructs the more experienced student to let the newbie try some of the things he learned this day.  The freshman gets caught in a guillotine--he fights it and David instructs him to tap if he needs to do so.  Ultimately he does tap and he wants to go again.   The timer sounds and everyone gives the freshman a round of applause.  I think he will be back.  

The training ends and I help the kids break down the mats and clean up.  One student says, "Mr. Justin, now that you have seen us do you still want to help us?"  Apparently abandonment is not far from these kids' minds.  First, I tell him he can call me Justin, he asks if he can call me J, I say you can call me whatever you want but if its bad please do so behind my back.  He laughs. 

I confirm my commitment to the program and tell them that after seeing them I am more committed to the program.  I also remind them that David -- or Mr. Grodsky -- should be thanked because he is doing this on his own time and without compensation.  On Tuesdays and Thursdays David is at school by 7 and doesn't get home until around 8 p.m.  A long day even for a lawyer!

There is more work to do and more equipment, including additional mats to accomodate more kids, that is needed.  Indeed, as is evident when the kids hit the pads, they need training gloves. 

Despite these equipment shortcomings, all in all it was a great experience for me and I come away feeling stronger about the need to support a program like this.  Clearly, these kids are really enjoying the program and reaping the benefits of martial arts training.

If you want to help support the program, please go to the New York Mixed Martial Arts Initiative.

Fight Lawyer

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Great Article By Mike Chiappetta On New York Politics & Efforts to Legalize MMA

Just read this excellent article by Mike Chiappetta over at, Changing New York Political Winds Could Affect MMA Sanctioning, and I highly recommend it for anyone interested in understanding the politics of New York in greater depth and, in particular, the influence of Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver on the New York Assembly.

The article also addresses the governor race between Cuomo and Paladino -- Cuomo is ahead in the polls -- in light of reports that Zuffa had contributed to Cuomo's campaign.

Specifically, the article notes that there may be a potential collision course between Cuomo and Silver if Cuomo is elected governor -- the likely scenario at this point.

As set forth in the article, according to Dr. Douglas Muzzio, a professor at New York's Baruch College and "longtime political analyst":
'In the larger political sense there is the possibility you'll have a collision given Cuomo's stated positions and Shelly's acted-on positions,' Muzzio said. 'Shelly's a wiley politician and Andrew is a sophisticated political animal. They may avoid a train wreck but a train wreck is possible. They're both Democrats, that's true. They'll have some common interests but also some conflicting interests. And we may end up with a fight on our hands.'
Moreover, the article quotes Muzzio's correct conclusion -- as I have posted repeatedly -- that "'[n]othing happens legislatively in the New York State Assembly' without Silver's OK."

Interestingly, the article provides that "'[o]fficially, Silver has no position on MMA.'" According to Sisa Moyo, Silver's Spokesperson, "'[b]ecause we're a committee-driven house, he [Silver] generally doesn't comment on bills before they're in committee process.'"

While he may not have an official position, as you may recall from my post, Assemblyman Englebright's Take on why MMA was Not Legalized in New York this Year -- Reading Between the Lines, as set forth in this video (at about minute 2:20), the Speaker states that he will let the bill go to conference, but that he is not "enamored" with the idea of mixed martial arts in the state.

Reading between the lines, Silver is saying that the bill will still sit in Committee but that, in reality, because he and the party leadership are opposed, it has no probability of success.

Fight Lawyer

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Zuffa Gets TRO In Piracy Case Shutting Down -- TRO Seems Overly Broad

Following up on my post, Zuffa Files Lawsuit Seeking To Shut Down &, on October 12, 2010 Judge Kent J. Dawson entered a temporary restraining order against Daniel Wallace, the alleged "owner and operator" of and

Specifically, the TRO provides in relevant part as follows:
THEREFORE, IT IS HEREBY ORDERED THAT, pending a full trial on the merits:
A. Defendant, defendant’s agents, servants, employees and/or all persons acting in concert or participation with defendant are prohibited from copying, manipulating, adapting, reproducing, uploading, distributing, sharing, selling or displaying any of Plaintiff’s Copyrighted Broadcasts and are prohibited from copying, manipulating, adapting, reproducing, uploading, distributing, sharing, selling or displaying UFC 120 in any manner;
B. The domain name registrar, eNom, Inc., is ordered to take possession of <> and <> domain name registrations and ensure that they are not accessible to Internet uers [sic] until the Court rules on Plaintiff’s motion for preliminary injunction;
C. A nominal bond of $100 shall be required because the evidence indicates that Defendant will only suffer, if at all, minimal damage by the issuance of this temporary restraining order and injunction.
Notably, unlike the TRO entered in the hq-streams case, Zuffa Gets Its Temporary Restraining Order Prohibiting Stream of UFC 118 at, here the Judge ordered the domain name registrar, eNom, Inc. to take possession of the domain names pending a ruling on Zuffa's motion for a preliminary injunction.  It seems pretty clear that the Court simply adopted the proposed order provided by Zuffa that was referenced in my earlier post because the Court, like Zuffa, misspelled "users" as "uers."

Quite frankly, I am surprised that the Court would completely shut down the two sites given that Zuffa alleged in its complaint that "Defendant regularly broadcasts 'live streams' of pay-per-view events, including MMA contests and exhibitions, boxing, and wrestling matches, for free on Defendant’s Website." 

It is clear from these allegations that the sites at issue were not exclusively devoted to alleged broadcasts of UFC events and so completely shutting down the site could cause damage if legitimate broadcasts are streamed at the site.  It seems "A" above would have adequately protected Zuffa here.

I think the TRO entered in the hq-streams case was more appropriate.  At a minimum, if you are going to shut down the site completely, the bond should be greater than $100.

The motion for a preliminary injunction is set for November 3, 2010 at 9 a.m.

Fight Lawyer

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Top Rank Files Motion to Compel Arbitration In Litigation With Golden Boy

Following up on my post, Quick Thoughts on the Golden Boy Top Rank Lawsuit, and consistent with Bob Arum's (and his lawyer's) reported statements in an ESPN article, Top Rank, Bob Arum, and David Lopez have filed a motion to compel arbitration in the United States District Court for the District of Nevada.

As set forth in the ESPN article breaking the news of the lawsuit, Arum and his attorney reportedly had this to say when the complaint was filed:
'As far as I'm concerned, this is a matter for the mediator,' Arum said of Weinstein, who tried unsuccessfully to mediate a deal between Top Rank and Golden Boy in January that would have resulted in a Pacquiao-Floyd Mayweather bout.
'This is frivolous,' Arum said. "We signed an agreement four years ago agreeing to binding arbitration on issues like this. They're going to end up paying us substantial legal fees. You can't bring an action like this if you've agreed to binding arbitration. They could have filed the complaint with Daniel Weinstein. They can't do this in a federal court. It will be thrown out. They filed this complaint because if they had done it in arbitration, it would have been confidential. So this is the way they think they can go around the confidentially provision in the agreement. They know it will be dismissed and they will pay a big price for that.[']
'Their motivation is to spread this filth in public instead of going to the arbitrator.'
Said Petrocelli [Top Rank's lawyer], 'There is no legal basis to avoid the requirement to arbitrate all disputes between the parties related to Manny Pacquiao. This they have conceded in many letters and emails leading up to this. They know this is all subject to the [arbitration] term sheet. This case will not and cannot be litigated in federal court because it's subject to binding, mandatory arbitration and, unless they withdraw it, we will ask for it to be ordered into arbitration pursuant to the parties' written agreement.'
Consistent with these statements, on October 8, 2010 defendants filed their motion to compel arbitration.  In the motion, defendants state as follows:
Defendants bring this Motion pursuant to the Federal Arbitration Act, 9 U.S.C. §§ 2, 6 3 & 4, on the grounds that (a) in June 2007, Top Rank and plaintiff Golden Boy Promotions entered into a term sheet agreement ("the Term Sheet"); (b) the Term Sheet is a valid agreement that involves and affects interstate commerce; (c) the Term Sheet contains several arbitration provisions, including one that says, '[t]he parties agree that Judge Weinstein shall have binding jurisdiction over any and all disputes arising out of this agreement'; (d) the Complaint in this matter alleges controversies arising out the Term Sheet; and, therefore, (e) the issues raised in the Complaint are 'referable to arbitration.'
Interestingly, in their memorandum of law in support of the motion, defendants state that Golden Boy has already "presented these claims to Judge Weinstein."  Specifically, the memorandum states as follows:
For the next three years [after the Term Sheet], neither Top Rank nor Golden Boy filed any lawsuits against the other. Rather, as was bargained for and agreed to, each promoter submitted disagreements regarding the interpretation of and parties' obligations under the Term Sheet to Judge Weinstein for confidential adjudication. Earlier this year, Golden Boy raised in a proceeding before Judge Weinstein the issue of whether Top Rank properly accounted to Golden Boy for two of Pacquiao's bouts-the same subject matter alleged in Golden Boy's lawsuit. . . . Unhappy with Judge Weinstein's ruling and seeking tactical advantage, Golden Boy filed this lawsuit in federal court. Golden Boy alleges that Top Rank, its Chairman, and its CFO breached the Tenn Sheet by failing to report revenue and inflating expenses related to three Pacquiao bouts-including two of the bouts Golden Boy already submitted to Judge Weinstein.  By virtue of the agreement between Top Rank and Golden Boy, this dispute must be litigated in arbitration before Judge Weinstein
Notably, the Term Sheet is redacted and references to the Term Sheet in the memorandum are redacted as well.

According to the memorandum, "[t]he day after Golden Boy filed the complaint, Defendants notified Golden Boy that the allegations of the complaint 'all arise out of the 2007 Term Sheet' and ''under Paragraph 12 of the Term Sheet, the [parties agree[d] that Judge Weinstein shall have binding jurisdiction over any and all disputes arising out of this agreement,] [] Defendants asked Golden Boy to 'immediately withdraw the complaint' [] and Golden Boy responded that Top Rank's 'claim that this case must be arbitrated is frivolous' and '[i]f you want to file a motion to compel arbitration, be my guest.'"

Defendants attempt to preempt Golden Boy's argument in response to the motion by noting that in a letter "Golden Boy takes the position that, pursuant to paragraph 12, it has complete discretion to submit disputes arising under the Term Sheet to Judge Weinstein or to a court."

I have not seen the Term Sheet and a lot of language from the Term Sheet is redacted, but it appears that Golden Boy might be claiming that the language, "the parties agree that Judge Weinstein shall have binding jurisdiction over any and all disputes arising out of this agreement," does not provide that Judge Weinstein has exclusive jurisdiction -- only that this is one option for dispute resolution.

Defendants correctly, I think, note that the use of the word "shall" is clear.  They also argue that "five other provisions require the submission of disputes to Judge Weinstein for private adjudication. None contemplates litigation in court."

Defendants also argue that by first submitting this very dispute to Judge Weinstein, plaintiff has waived objection to the arbitrator's jurisdiction.

I will continue to monitor.

Fight Lawyer

TapouT Radio Guest Appearance Last Night

Thanks to everyone who tuned in last night to the TapouT radio show and thanks to TapouT, and in particular Crooklyn, for having me on the show. 

You can listen to the segment here if you missed it:

Please check out the New York Mixed Martial Arts Initiative, Inc. website and we hope you will support us in any way possible.

I also want to thank our sponsors for the program we are supporting at East Harlem High School, including Everlast and PhotosThatGive, and thank our donors for the fundraising event we are holding on October 23, 2010, including FreshDirectDr. Praeger's Sensible Foods, and Beerlao.

For more on the program we are supporting in East Harlem, click here.

Fight Lawyer

Monday, October 11, 2010

TapouT Radio Guest Tonight

I will be a guest on TapouT Radio Live tonight talking MMA in New York -- specifically, the ban and the New York governor race -- and the non-profit we recently started, New York Mixed Martial Arts Initiative, Inc. 

Starts at 9 p.m. ET.

Here is the flyer:

Zuffa Files Lawsuit Seeking To Shut Down &

On October 8, 2010, Zuffa filed a complaint in the United States District Court for the District of Nevada against Daniel Wallace, an individual allegedly (upon information and belief) residing in Selsey, West Sussex, England, for "copyright infringement, trademark infringement, unfair competition and trademark dilution under federal statutes, with pendent state and/or common law claims for trademark infringement, trademark dilution, and intentional interference with prospective economic advantage." (hat tip Robert Joyner @robnashville). 

Zuffa alleges that, "[u]pon information and belief, Defendant owns and operates a website located at (“Defendant’s Website”), as well as a referring site at (“Referring Website”)" and that "Defendant regularly broadcasts “live streams” of pay-per-view events, including MMA contests and exhibitions, boxing, and wrestling matches, for free on Defendant’s Website."

The crux of the complaint is the allegation that: 
Upon information and belief, given that events are streamed for free on Defendant’s Website, Defendant derives revenue from selling advertising space on the website such that the viewer is continuously bombarded with “pop up” ads during any given broadcast.  Defendant has previously offered unauthorized “live streaming” video of Copyrighted Broadcasts, including, but not limited to, UFC 119, which took place on September 25, 2010
Zuffa also alleges that:
"[b]ased upon Defendant’s history of offering 'live streaming' of Plaintiff’s past events, as well as those of other MMA providers, Plaintiff is informed and believes that Defendant will similarly offer an unauthorized 'live streaming' video of UFC 120 on October 16, 2010, the date of the event.  Plaintiff is informed and believes that Defendant will 'live stream' UFC 120 to Internet viewers for free. The authorized live broadcast of UFC 120 will occur on the Spike TV cable television channel in the United States, but the event will be pay-per-view in Australia.
To prevent any future allegedly unauthorized streaming, Zuffa also filed a emergency application for an ex parte temporary restraining order and motion for preliminary injunction.  In the motion Zuffa seeks "injunctive relief to prevent Defendant from uploading, displaying, copying, adapting, sharing, using, exhibiting and/or disseminating Plaintiff’s Copyrighted Broadcasts [], including, but not limited to, Plaintiff’s October 16, 2010, broadcast of UFC 120, including an order disabling the Defendant’s website and domain names for the pendency of the litigation."

Zuffa also provided a proposed temporary restraining order that provides in relevant part as follows:
THEREFORE, IT IS HEREBY ORDERED THAT, pending a full trial on the merits:

A. Defendant, defendant’s agents, servants, employees and/or all persons acting in concert or participation with defendant are prohibited from copying, manipulating, adapting, reproducing, uploading, distributing, sharing, selling or displaying any of Plaintiff’s Copyrighted Broadcasts and are prohibited from copying, manipulating, adapting, reproducing, uploading, distributing, sharing, selling or displaying UFC 120 in any manner;
B. The domain name registrar, eNom, Inc., is ordered to take possession of and domain name registrations and ensure that they are not accessible to Internet uers [sic] until the Court rules on Plaintiff’s motion for preliminary injunction;
C. A nominal bond of $100 shall be required because the evidence indicates that Defendant will only suffer, if at all, minimal damage by the issuance of this temporary restraining order and injunction. 
If this sounds familiar, it should. 

As I reported in my posts, including, inter alia, Zuffa Files Lawsuit Seeking Injunction Preventing Potential Stream of UFC 118 at, Zuffa Gets Its Temporary Restraining Order Prohibiting Stream of UFC 118 at, and Tike ( Stipulate to Permanent Injunction in Zuffa Streaming Action, Zuffa successfully obtained a permanent injunction last month putting a stop to alleged streams of UFC events at

The major difference I see here -- other than the obvious fact that in the United States UFC 120 will be on Spike and not on ppv -- is that Tike was allegedly in New York (albeit at a parking lot address according to the process server) whereas Wallace is in the UK.

Thus, there is an interesting international law issue involved. 

In this regard, to the extent that Zuffa's proposed order here provides that "eNom, Inc., is ordered to take possession of and domain name registrations and ensure that they are not accessible to Internet uers [sic] until the Court rules on Plaintiff’s motion for preliminary injunction," note that in the hq-streams dispute Zuffa provided a proposed order with similar language directed at ", Inc." and that the Court did not include this langauge in the TRO it entered.

Fight Lawyer

Saturday, October 9, 2010

Cool Video Of Some Marcelo Garcia Guys Competing at the Pan Jiu-Jitsu No-Gi Championship 2010

Click here for a video created by Brad Holland, Seth Goldfarb, and Glen Fabian with footage from the competition in New York last weekend.

Mikey Burnett Reached Settlement With Insurer-Litigation Continues With Zuffa & Zuffa Faces Possible Sanction

Following up on my posts, Mikey Burnett Lawsuit From 2008 Relating to His Alleged Injury On Season Four Of The Ultimate Fighter Still Pending and Mikey Burnett Lawsuit Heading to A Settlement Conference, according to the minutes of the Court on September 21, a settlement was reached among the parties and placed on the record under seal. On September 23, 2010, the Court clarified in its minutes that a "[s]ettlement was reached only as to Defendant National Union Fire Insurance Company."

As you will recall from my earlier posts, the facts underlying the dispute were as follows:

Mikey Burnett was a Season Four participant on the Ultimate Fighter (the "Comeback") who allegedly suffered a spinal injury while the show was in production and later sued TufGuy Productions, Inc., which produces the Ultimate Fighter, Ultimate Fighting Productions, LLC, Zuffa, and National Fire Insurance Company, which allegedly insured him under an "accident" policy. Burnett has asserted claims for negligence, breach of contract (against AIG - National Fire), and breach of the implied covenant of good faith and fair dealing (against AIG-National Fire).
As I reported, Tufguy Productions, Inc., Ultimate Fighting Productions, LLC, and Zuffa, LLC's motion for summary judgment --discussed briefly in my first post -- is still pending and fully briefed.

After the settlement conference the Court also entered a show cause order on September 23, 2010 that provided as follows:

This matter came before the Court on September 21, 2010. Defendants Tufguy Productions, Inc., Ultimate Fighting Productions, LLC and Zuffa, LLC failed to comply with the Order Scheduling a Settlement Conference (#92) in that they failed to have present at the settlement conference on September 21, 2010, a representative of the insurance carrier, with
authority to settle this matter up to the full amount of the claim. Good cause appearing therefore, IT IS HEREBY ORDERED that Defendants Tufguy productions, Inc., Ultimate Fighting Productions, LLC and Zuffa, LLC shall appear before the Court on October 8, 2010, at 11:15 AM and show cause, if any they have, why they should not be sanctioned for failing to comply with the Order Scheduling a Settlement Conference (#92). The Show Cause hearing will be held in courtroom 3D, 3d floor, Lloyd D. George United States Courthouse, 333 Las Vegas Blvd. So., Las Vegas, Nevada.
One thing that came from the declaration filed by Tufguy Productions, Inc., Ultimate Fighting Productions, LLC and Zuffa's attorney in response to the Show Cause Order was that Burnett made "a settlement demand of $250,000" and that the "demand was directed to all defendants."

I will continue to monitor.

Fight Lawyer

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

We May Never Know Who SC Really Is -- Follow Up to The Alabama Steroid Distribution Convictions

Following up on my posts, Professional Athletes Linked to Alabama Pharmacist Convicted of Illegal Distribution of Steroids, More Information On The Illegal Distribution Of Steroids By Alabama Pharmacy, and More On Infinite Health -- Colorado Facility That Distributed Anabolic Steroids, I checked the docket in the J. Michael Bennett criminal case and it looks like we may never see the unredacted list of athletes who were allegedly recipients of illegal steroids.

As you may recall, according to an article, "Steroids case pharmacist gets 4 years in prison in Mobile case with ties to pro sports, wrestling," a number of professional athletes, including one "professional fighter" were allegedly recipients of illegal steroids from a pharmacist sentenced on August 13, 2010 in the United States District Court for the Southern District of Alabama. 

According to the Sentencing Memorandum, "[d]uring the time of Bennett’s membership and involvement in the conspiracy, April 2004 through August 2006, the conspirators conspired to illegally distribute, and distributed, anabolic steroids and related drugs to at least 22 athletes . . ." 

While the names of the athletes were not provided in full (the list of the names was separately provided in unredacted form in an exhibit filed under seal as was an exhibit titled "Athlete-photos") the chart from the Sentencing Memorandum -- a link to that chart is here --  provided, inter alia, the types of steroids used and the timeframe for what appears to be the abbreviation of the athletes' names. 

In subsequent posts I followed up with additional information from the Factual Resume -- a document submitted with a plea agreement and used as evidence at the guilty plea hearing -- of a Colorado Doctor, Kelly W. Tucker M.D. detailing alleged orders that Dr. Kelly filled for and individual with the abbreviation S.C. -- an S.C. was listed in the sentencing memorandum as a "professional fighter."

I was hopeful that at some point the documents would be filed in unredacted form and it appears now that this will not be the case.

The United States Attorney's Office for the Southern District of Alabama filed a Motion to Maintain Exhibits Under Seal, stating that "[i]nasmuch as several of the exhibits could be viewed as containing personal identifying information, the United States seeks to have all exhibits from both sentencing hearings placed under seal."  That motion was subsequently granted by Judge Callie V. S. Granade.

In addition, the USAO filed a Notice of Intent to Request Redaction of Transcript and Request to Maintain Transcript Under Seal Until Official Redaction Occurs.  As you may recall, the Alabama Live reporter indicated that specific athlete identities were disclosed at the sentencing hearing.

Given the media attention that followed the disclosure by Alabama Live, it is not all that surprising that the government sought to maintain the exhibits under seal and to redact the transcript.  This is especially so given that the government was likely relying, in large part or exclusively, on indicted individuals' testimony and statements made as part of their plea agreements, i.e. there was likely no conclusive evidence establishing any wrongdoing on the part of the athletes -- from what I can tell the athletes were never targets of any investigation and they would not have been presented with an opportunity to respond to the allegations of those involved in the distribution ring. 

For what it's worth, I also reached out to Assistant United States Attorney Dobbins, who according to Alabama Live was the prosecutor at the sentencing hearing, for additional information and never heard back.

No big surprise.

Fight Lawyer

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

WWE Asserts Cross-Claims Against Mayweather

Following up on my posts, Mayweather Promotions Suffers Another Loss in South Carolina Copyright Case and Mayweather and WWE Stuck In South Carolina Court In Copyright Dispute Over Song “Yep”, on September 8, 2010, World Wrestling Entertainment, Inc. (“WWE”) filed cross-claims against Floyd Mayweather, Mayweather Promotions, LLC, Mayweather Promotions and Philthy Rich Records, Inc. (the “Mayweather Defendants”) for indemnification and contribution. 
The crux of WWE's claims is the allegation that "to the extent that WWE is found liable to Plaintiff, WWE is entitled to indemnity [and contribution] from the Mayweather Defendants, to include recovery of all its attorney fees and costs it incurs in the defense of this action, as well as any amounts WWE may be required to pay as a result of a verdict arising from this action."

By way of background, as set forth in the decision denying the defendants' motion to dismiss for lack of personal jurisdiction, the facts of the dispute were as follows:
On March 30, 2008, Floyd Mayweather, Jr. entered an Orlando, Florida arena hosting WrestleMania 24 to the song “Yep,” a composition that Dash contends violates his copyright in a musical track entitled “TONY GUNZ BEAT.” WrestleMania 24 took place before a live audience of 75,000 and a pay-per-view and television audience of over one million. Dash represents that untold numbers of WWE enthusiasts and Mayweather fans have purchased the Wrestlemania 24 DVD, and viewed clips of Yep on Dash alleges that WrestleMania 24 was advertised and broadcast in South Carolina, and purchased on pay-per-view by South Carolina residents. Dash also alleges that South Carolina consumers have purchased WrestleMania 24 DVDs at brick-and-mortar retail stores in South Carolina as well as online stores (in which case the DVDs were shipped to South Carolina). On August 24, 2009, Mayweather guest-hosted a WWE event entitled “RAW” in Nevada, at which Yep again accompanied Mayweather’s entrance to the arena. Dash alleges that RAW, and the infringing content therein, was advertised, broadcast, consumed on pay-per-view, and purchased on DVD by residents of South Carolina in South Carolina.
In its cross-claims, WWE points the finger at Leonard Ellerbe and, by extension, the Mayweather Defendants for allegedly substituting "Yep" for a song by "50 Cent" that WWE had planned to use for Mayweather's ring entrance. 

Specifically, WWE alleges as follows:
WWE originally planned to use a song by “50 Cent” in conjunction with Floyd Mayweather’s entrance/appearance in WRESTLEMANIA XXIV.  The night before WRESTLEMANIA XXIV, however, Ellerbe handed WWE’s Vice President, Music, Neil Lawi, a CD and requested that WWE play the song on that CD in connection with Mayweather’s entrance. The song on the CD was a recording of “Yep.”  At the time, Mr. Lawi asked Ellerbe whether Mayweather owned all rights to the song. Ellerbe responded that Mayweather did own all rights to the song and that Mayweather granted WWE the right to use the song in connection with the live broadcast of WRESTLEMANIA XXIV as well as any rebroadcast or reuse of WRESTLEMANIA XXIV on home video, television, internet or otherwise.
Fight Lawyer

Monday, October 4, 2010

Zuffa's Support of Cuomo -- Does It Really Mean Anything?

Following up on my post, New York Governor Race and the Legalization of MMA, today in a New York Post article, "Cagey Cuomo $upporters," the Post reveals that "Las Vegas firm Zuffa Entertainmen [sic] has pumped $74,600 into Cuomo's campaign coffers -- and hopes the Democrat will use his political muscle to bend the Legislature into approving the controversial cage fights in New York."  Zach Arnold over at reported that Zuffa had contributed to Cuomo's campaign last week.

The Post article reports that a Cuomo spokesperson has indicated that Cuomo has not yet taken a position on the legalization of MMA and that Paladino said he has reservations about "cage fights." 

When I reached out to Paladino's office a few weeks back, I was told that he had not yet taken a position on the issue.  So this is news to me, but it doesn't really sound like either candidate has taken an actual position on the issue, i.e. pro or con. 

For what it is worth, I did a search over at the New York State Board of Elections Campaign Financial Disclosure Contribution Search Page and my search revealed that Zuffa had only given Cuomo $37,800 -- with the last contribution of $36,800 coming in July, i.e. before Paladino had pulled the upset over Rick Lazio, and so it is unclear if Zuffa even took Paladino into account when it made that contribution.  

That said, "[c]ampaigns file disclosure statements semiannually on Jan. 15 and July 15, and in special reports before and after elections," so it is entirely possible that Cuomo's camp (or Zuffa for that matter) disclosed an additional contribution since the last filing date in July.

Bottom line, Zuffa probably contributes to the candidate who it deems most likely to win based on the polls (and that is Cuomo now and back in July) and neither candidate has taken a position on the issue at this point and so I am not reading too much into the contributions.

Fight Lawyer