New York State Democratic Gubernatorial nominee Andrew Cuomo
The New York Post reported that Zuffa, the parent company of the UFC, has contributed $74,000 to Democratic gubernatorial candidate Andrew Cuomo.
S.C. Michaelson commented:
As you know, MMA is in the middle of a 5-round war with the NY State Legislature over sanctioning of MMA. Their biggest opponent is Bob Reilly (who I have discussed in the past) who also has the ear of the Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver (who is the key to keeping the bill from going to vote).
Current Governor David Paterson is a strong proponent for MMA but that has not helped the cause as it is still illegal. However Paterson was not elected and only ascended to the Governorship after Eliot Spitzer resigned. Andrew Cuomo is a much more popular figure in the state of New York and thus could have more influence. According to the Post, Cuomo has not officially stated his position on the legalization of MMA. I'm sure that Zuffa has some knowledge of his position as they donated a substantial sum.
The interesting thing about this whole issue is that, despite what most people assume, Reilly and Silver are Democrats and not Republicans. Gov. Paterson is a Democrat as well. Paladino, Cuomo's opponent, is a Republican and a staunch opponent of the Speaker Sheldon Silver. He's gone so far as to compare Silver to the Anti-Christ or Hitler. So the guy the UFC isn't supporting is against the guy who is one of the main people against the legalization of MMA. That's funny.
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.
Bottom line, Zuffa probably contributes to the candidate who it deems most likely to win based on the polls (and that is Lazio 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.
Frank Trigg had some comments on Twitter:
Cumo (sic) comes from a political family and is a career politician. I think he can pull it off
paladino is a douche in my opinion. Don't like his policies and his campaign, but then again I don't vote in NY anymore.
I've posted on this before and I stand by my previous position that the New York legislature is more of a money grab than a law-making body and that Zuffa has gotten themselves into a situation where they are tossing money around to lobbyists and local politicians in one of the more corrupt states in the U.S.
The problem is that the longer the fight goes unresolved, the longer Zuffa will continue to make generous donations to New York politicians. Why regulate MMA if it means the contributions will suddenly stop?