It's not a question that UFC president Dana White fields at every event he hosts, but it's a question that he gets asked a great deal. That question - when will mixed martial arts be legalized in the state of New York?
When that very inquiry was posed to White during his media scrum following Saturday's UFC 173 fight card, the UFC boss bluntly stated, "I have no hopes, no aspirations - nothing as far as New York goes."
That doesn't mean that White and the rest of the UFC brass is giving up on getting the sport legalized in that state. As White said, "We'll keep fighting. We'll keep going in and doing our thing, and one of these days that place will straighten up, and we'll get it."
The ironic aspect of this is that while professional MMA is illegal in the state, a loophole allows amateur mixed martial arts events to take place in New York. That loophole allows some horror show type activities to surround the events that do take place. Deadspin recently covered some of the more egregious of these goings-on in a recent look at the state of amateur MMA in New York.
White said he was unfamiliar with the Deadspin story, but he did seem to be familiar with some of the ground that was covered in the piece. "It's tough to argue what the most disgusting part of New York is, but I'd say the worst thing is all these fights are happening unsanctioned," said White. "They're not stopping these fights. This guy in New York (Assemblyman Sheldon Silver) is actually making things a lot more dangerous for people that live in New York."
As he has done in the past, White pointed the finger directly at Silver and Culinary Workers Union Local 226 as the reason why the UFC is struggling to break through in their efforts to get MMA legalized in New York. At the same time, White was quick to dismiss the idea that things were dragging along in that state due to the amount of money the UFC has spent on lobbying and campaign contributions.
According to a 2013 report by the Daily News, Zuffa LLC, which owns the UFC, has spent more than $1 million on lobbying and made more than $500,000 in campaign contributions to New York politcians since 2007. White said there was "no way" things were being dragged out so that faucet would keep flowing.
The Daily News recently reported that it seems "unlikely" that MMA will be legalized in New York in 2014.