The UFC just celebrated its 30th anniversary, but for many of those years, the Las Vegas-based fight company was not permitted to run events in every state. Most notably in New York.
It wasn’t until 2016 that the promotion was allowed to run its first event in The Empire State after years of battling with state legislators.
“The Las Vegas Culinary Union is what was keeping us out of New York because the Fertittas are a non-union casino,” Dana White explained during an appearance on the Full Send podcast with the Nelk Boys. “So these guys were spending all their member’s dues to attack the UFC and attack me personally. And as soon as the Fertitas were out, it stopped.“
Dana White’s feud with Culinary Local 226 dates back to the late 2000s with the current UFC CEO blaming the 60,000-member union for using its political muscle to stop the legalization of UFC and mixed martial arts fights in New York state.
The Culinary Union had long been in a battle with Station Casinos, owned and operated by Lorenzo and Frank Fertitta III, trying to organize the Station Casinos workers into a union. White and then-UFC CEO Lorenzo Fertita pointed to the Culinary Union’s political influence in New York and the unionization dispute over Station Casinos as the primary factor blocking the legalization of professional MMA. At the time New York was the lone state in the Union without MMA regulation.
“They had a website. UFC is bad for children and all this other sh*t,” White continued. “Just total f*cking scumbags and that’s what kept us out and the guy they were in cahoots with was a f*cking criminal. The Las Vegas culinary guy was a criminal. He ended up going to f*cking prison. So we get into New York… Seven years we’ve been in New York. We’re number one, number two, and number three all-time in Madison Square Garden. The three biggest gates ever.
“How does that d*ck taste Las Vegas Culinary Union?”
The promotion just wrapped up another event inside the world’s most famous arena which saw the rise of two new UFC champions. Alex Pereira claimed his second world title in as many weigh classes with a second-round knockout of former light heavyweight champion Jiri Prochazka in the evening’s headliner.
Tom Aspinall claimed the interim heavyweight title with a 69-second knockout of Sergei Pavlovich in the co-main event.