UFC legalization event in New York garners wrong kind of attention for notorious sex offender guest

Michael Nagle

The UFC's January 27 event to push for legalization of MMA in New York is drawing some negative press after a notorious sex offender who works for the lobbying firm was in attendance.

Michael Boxley became a famous name in New York when he was accused of rape and accepted a plea deal that left him as a registered sex offender. Boxley was a top aide to Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver when he was accused of the rape of a legislative aide in 2003. There were also reports that he had raped another aide in 2001 but that Silver either ignored or actively covered up the complaint.

In the 2003 case, he took a plea deal that had him plead guilty to misdemeanor sexual misconduct and register as a sex offender. In the deal he admitted to having non-consensual sex with the 22 year old victim.

Boxley has since become a lobbyist for Brown & Weinraub, one of the largest lobbying firms in the state. He can be found listed on the "Our Team" web page for Brown & Weinraub. Also on the Brown & Weinraub website is a list of clients, including Zuffa LLC.

The New York Post is reporting that Boxley attended the UFC's January 27 lobbying eventto push for legalization, and it was noticed by many in attendance:

"It couldn’t get any worse from a p.r. standpoint," said one attendee at the UFC reception. "You don’t want someone convicted of a sex crime at your event. Who’s appearing next, Vito Lopez?"

Lopez, a former Brooklyn assemblyman, resigned last year after probers substantiated claims he sexually harassed female staffers.

Assemblywoman Linda Rosenthal (D-Manhattan), who charges the sport "glorifies violence against women," agreed the promoters blundered by letting Boxley attend.

"I don’t think it helps their case," she said.

The UFC stressed to the Post that Boxley attended as a guest, not as a paid lobbyist. And also that Boxley has never lobbied for the UFC.

Still, the attention drawn in a battle that has been as much about image as facts is not good.

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