A Strong and Varied Industry
The UFC is not a monopoly. As noted above, there are numerous organizations promoting professional mixed martial arts competitions in the 45 states that regulate the sport, not to mention those fights conducted in states in which the sport remains unregulated but legal. Only New York expressly bans the sport. An economic impact study from February 2011 found that if MMA were regulated in New York the UFC is expected to hold 2 competitions while smaller operators would average about 70. Indeed, in Ohio and California alone, there are over 100 fights a year which have nothing to do with the UFC. The UFC conducts its business in a highly regulated environment and does not engage in any business practices which couldremotely be characterized as arestraint toany other organization's ability to conduct its business. To suggest otherwise is without merit.
Professional Athletic Opportunity
UFC contracts with hundred of fighters who work tirelessly to compete at the highest levels of the sport. For many world-class collegiate and Olympic athletes in wrestling and martial arts, the UFC offers the opportunity to earn a living competing professionally in a sport they love. The contracts are the standard in the industry and are negotiated fairly. They are generally for a 1-2 year duration and may cover 3-6 matches. The more recognizable fighters can earnmillions on their own through endorsements and appearances. To isolate a small number of well publicized business disputes in no way suggests that our business practices are unfair to the vast majority or that the terms of any contracts are onerous.
Economic Benefits to New York State and its Union Workforce
It is important to note that the above legislation would benefit all mixed martial arts organizations in New York, not just the UFC. As we have seen in many other states , jobs would be created and small business would benefit, including hotels which employ the same workers whose union stands in opposition to this bill. Mixed martial arts exhibitions have also generated much needed tax revenue for states and local governments. The earlier mentioned economic impact study found one UFC match would bring $5 million to Buffalo's local economy.
The UFC makes every effort to work with unionized workers around the country. This past weekend in Toronto the UFC spent over $1 million in direct wages to union employees. Almost 500 union workers – from stagehands to electricians to security guards to ushers – would be employed for a single UFC event at Madison Square Garden. In fact, the very union opposing this bill and criticizing the UFC's business practices sought its business for its very own travel booking company called Inmex, ensuring that UFC stays in unionized hotels around the country. The UFC was pleased to enter into this business relationship which exists to this day.
Local 6 Opposition Has Nothing to Do with MMA or New York
We conclude by suggesting that the hotel workers are opposing legislation which would create jobs for their members and seek to disparage a company with which it does business for reasons wholly unrelated to mixed martial arts or even the UFC. We would offer the real motivation for its "opposition" is the fact that a company in Las Vegas, a totally separate business outside of New York, has not acquiesced in a culinary union organizing drive; the only nexus between these two situations is the fact that some of the owners of the UFC happen to be partial owners of that separate company in Nevada.
We respectfully submit that the time has come to regulate mixed martial arts in New York because it's a highly regulated safe sport, which is conducted virtually everywhere in the world except the Empire State, generates millions in tax revenue, boosts small businesses and supports job creation including the creation of jobs for hotel workers.