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UFC Understands Importance of Lobbying

There is legislation pending in Congress that could grant the federal government oversight of boxing and it turns out the UFC has spent hundreds of thousands of dollars to ensure such regulation, if it passes, doesn't affect MMA. To wit:

"Back then, it was no holds barred, marketed as two men walk in, one man walks out," said Delrahim, a former deputy assistant attorney general in the Bush administration. Now, he said, it's a mainstream sport that is sanctioned and regulated by athletic commissions in 37 states. Delrahim said his clients don't care whether boxing is regulated, as long as their sport isn't included.


McCain, who is sponsoring the boxing legislation in the Senate, declined to be interviewed. In a statement, he said the bill would "better protect professional boxing from the fraud, corruption and ineffective regulation that have plagued the sport for far too many years and that have devastated physically and financially many of our nation's professional boxers."

The bill's House sponsor is Rep. Peter King, a New York Republican who often spars in the boxing ring. He said there was no intent to cover mixed martial arts when the bill was drafted, and he didn't think the legislation would apply to it.

"It took me awhile to realize just how popular Ultimate Fighting is," King said. "I'm not crazy about it, either. I may just be too old-fashioned." But he said he'd prefer to keep the bill focused on boxing, because adding mixed martial arts might complicate chances for passage.

For those who want to cry about the influence of lobbying in government, I sympathize with your disdain. However, allow me to sprinkle a dose of reality over this matter: nothing - and I mean nothing - gets done for interest groups or causes in Washington, DC without a significant lobbying effort. You may decry the state of matters, but they are what they are. Our Senators and Congressman will very likely not pay attention to you - and believe me, it's difficult for them to do so - unless there are professionals in place who know how to get their attention and make the requisite ask.

Hats off to the UFC for understanding how paramount it is to be involved in lobbying. Hopefully their efforts pan out and our sport continues to be protected from overreaching self-important senators.