Thursday, August 7, 2014

Fun Facts Gleaned From the Zuffa vs. New York Lawsuit


The latest round of documents filed in the Zuffa vs. New York State lawsuit has yielded a treasure trove of heretofore unknown facts, which is to be expected, since we're now past the discovery phase and arguments have been firmed up by the testimony put forth in the various depositions. So let's jump right in to these facts, shall we?

As per the State's Motion for Summary Judgment:

  • The Attorney General and local District Attorneys have the authority to prosecute violations of the "combative sports" law (i.e., the law that bans pro MMA).
  • The AG has never prosecuted anyone under the combative sports law.
  • The AG has only been asked to investigate potential combative sports law violations on three occasions. None of those investigations led to charges, as the competitors were deemed to be amateurs.
  • What were those three occasions? "Wild Child Boxing" events in Saratoga Springs and Lake George, the Underground Combat League, and amateur MMA bouts put on by "Watertown Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu". The Wild Child Boxing promoter eventually pleaded guilty to Reckless Endangerment, Endangering the Welfare of a Child and holding unlicensed boxing events. Nothing happened to the UCL or Watertown Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu.
  • The AG feels that pro MMA bouts held on Indian Reservations are illegal. (Note: There have been quite a few of those over the years - none of them were prosecuted.)
  • The New York State Athletic Commission's official position on whether third-party sanctioning organizations (like the World Kickboxing Association) can sanction pro MMA bouts is that it cannot.
  • The NYSAC has always said that amateur MMA was legal. (Note: Um, no.)
  • Hugo Spindola was the attorney at the NYSAC who handled things related to combative sports. "No promoters ever proved to Mr. Spindola that their events were amateur, nor did anyone ever challenge either his authority to send cease-and-desist letters or the correctness of his opinion." (Note: This isn't true - when Spindola sent me a cease-and-desist letter, I responded with a letter challenging that very thing. He never wrote back.)

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