New York Assemblyman Bob Reilly, who at this point (unfortunately) needs no introduction, has been the most visible nay-sayer of MMA in New York. Although Reilly has exposed his lack of knowledge on the sport through various interviews and commentary, he remains at the forefront of opposition. His poorly appointed rationale has led many in the MMA community to question his political motives.
In a recent interview on Pro MMA Radio, host Larry Pepe did a tremendous job of systematically defeating Reilly’s limp-wristed arguments. Then, to top things off, Pepe unveiled Reilly’s relationship with one of his major campaign contributors, a hotel workers’ union called Unite Here. Logically, MMA events would bolster local hotel occupancy and revenue, which translates into jobs for hotel workers. Therefore, it would be in the union’s best interest to support MMA. However, Unite Here happens to be the only entity lobbying against MMA in New York.
Needless to say, there is more to the story. Why has Unite Here gone out of its way, and against the best interests of its members, to lobby against MMA? As it turns out, Unite Here has a history of conflict with Station Casinos, a Las Vegas casino chain owned by the Fertitta brothers. The Fertittas also own the UFC…
It is now clear that Unite Here has waged war against MMA in order to retaliate against the Fertitta brothers for a conflict completely unrelated to MMA and New York. In doing so, Unite Here has funded Bob Reilly’s campaigns to promote their anti-MMA agenda in hopes of pressuring the Fertittas to unionize Station Casino workers.
Reilly has stated that he will likely not change his stance on MMA, regardless of the wishes of his constituents and fellow assemblymen. Now we know why. His pockets are lined to guarantee his loyalty to the business interests of Unite Here, not the interests of the New Yorkers he claims to represent.
LEGALIZE THE EMPIRE.
Check out the MMA Mania post here.
Listen to the Pro MMA Radio audio interview here, its the episode from 02/07/11.
Hat tip to The Coalition to Legalize Mixed Martial Arts in New York.