Direct Link to Greatest Hits at the bottom
Without a doubt, no single entity has done more to spur the growth of Mixed Martial Arts than the sport's premier league, The Ultimate Fighting Championship. Under the ownership of Zuffa, LLC, the UFC has emerged from a struggling underground tournament, once banned from the masses, to become one of the fastest-growing sports organizations in history.
Since their purchase of the UFC in 2001, Zuffa, LLC, has successfully led the charge in getting MMA sanctioned in 45 of the 48 U.S. states with athletic commissions in place, with the exception of New York, Connecticut and Vermont. Though the promotion aspires to obtain sanctioning in each of these remaining states, their primary focus has been on "The Big Apple," a destination rich in combat sports history. However, despite millions of dollars spent by the UFC on education and lobbying, the bill to legalize MMA has reached the assembly on multiple occasions, only to be left on the cutting room floor.
The most recent explanation for its failure to pass, offered by Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver, was that the bill, which was endorsed by 60 members of the committee, did not appear to have "widespread support." UFC President Dana White, however, has offered another explanation - The Culinary Union.
Based in Nevada, the Culinary Union has worked diligently to unionize Station Casinos, which is owned by ZUFFA, LLC, co-owners Lorenzo and Frank Fertitta. However, despite their best efforts over the past decade and a half, Station Casinos, an employer of nearly 14,000 workers, remains the largest non-union gaming company in the country. And according to White, therein lies the true cause of the UFC's inability to break into the state of New York.
In attendance at the Verizon Center following the promotion's latest event in Washington D.C., White discussed the issue during what was, perhaps, one of his most emotional interviews to date. Interestingly, MMAFighting.com's Ariel Helwani questioned White regarding a website recently launched by the Culinary Union. The site, known by the acronym "UFC = Unfit For Children," appears to focus solely on White's character, suggesting that those "concerned" with his behavior should contact them.
For long time fans of the sport, the fact that those opposed to the UFC would zero in on White will likely come as no surprise. Often referred to as "the face of the company," White is far from your typical suit and tie executive and is well-known for his brash approach and brutal honesty. It is those very characteristics, however, that one may credit for his uncanny ability to engage fans, while leading the promotion to such widespread success. And as White himself pointed out, the website only lends credence to the notion that the Culinary union is, indeed, working to stunt the growth of the UFC.
"They're spending that money to create a website about me and the way that I talk and the things that say - things that you could go on f------ YouTube or this show right here, and see anyway," said White. "Like I'm hiding who I am! Like somebody is going to click on that and go "Oh my God! This guy says f--- !? This is crazy!" You know what I mean? That's what they're spending the money on! ... So, these guys are out there creating this website about me, I could give a s--- about the Culinary Union. Their beef is with the Fertittas, it doesn't make a difference to me. Guys, create another website! Put a TV show on about me too! I could care less, it means nothing to me. But, the funny thing is, as far as unions go, we support and pay dues to the union in every major city that we go to. Listen, the New York thing is going to happen one way or another anyway. This sport isn't getting any smaller, it's only getting bigger."
The Culinary Union has compiled a library of videos, clips, quotes, and other material, which are now readily available for your viewing pleasure at the address below. What their true agenda may be is up for debate, but for fans of Mr. White, it will serve as a quality collection of his greatest hits... Just be sure to remember, it may be "Unfit For Children!"
The Culinary Union presents Dana White's Greatest Hits: UnfitForChildren.org
UFC President Dana White at UFC 132 PF Press Conference. Credit: Scott Hirano.