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Steve Cofield

UFC 99 teleconference: White breaking barriers in Germany and New York

Dana White constantly tells fans and media that mixed martial arts is not mainstream. For that reason, he's doing much of the same work in 2009 that he was doing in 2002. UFC 99 in Germany on Saturday is a watershed moment. The country is very anti-violence and has been especially anti-MMA. Sound familiar? In spite of the fact that over 30 states have cleared MMA in the United States, New York is still a holdout. The first steps in changing that went down last week when an MMA sanctioning bill passed in the New York State Assembly's Committee on Tourism, Parks, Arts and Sports by 16-4 vote.

"I'm pretty excited about it, just like the stuff that's going on in Germany right now, it's a process," said White. "We have to get in there and educate people. I was very confident we'd get New York done."

Fightlinker points out that in spite of the enthusiasm reality says the UFC won't be in New York until the middle of 2010 at the earliest:

There are just fourteen days left in the current legislation session and the State Senate just imploded in a parliamentary debacle. Two Democrats (both under investigation) joined Republicans to declare a new majority and introduce legislation changing the leadership structure. One writer described it as a “coup d’etat” and said that it, "revealed Albany for the madhouse it has become, with the lunatics firmly in charge of the asylum."

White said it all comes with the global expansion plan and establishing MMA as a worldwide sport with unified rules, saying France is next on the hit list.

He also talked about the the fact that the UFC's U.K. television partner, Setanta Sports is on the verge of collapsing, possibly this week. Setanta is having financial difficulties after missing payments to one of the major soccer organizations:

"The fight business is so much fun. It's always fun stuff," chuckled White. "We're trying to figure out, if anything bad happens, how to get this fight on for the fans. We're going to have to roll with this thing and see what happens."

White also indicated his Croatian import Mirko "Cro Cop" Filipovic is on a one-fight deal. It's the first time ever the UFC president has worked a deal like this. Cro Cop said on the call that he'll be in the UFC for a longtime. He was added to this card just three weeks ago which may have prompted the one-fight deal. If Cro Cop wins then new terms could be negotiated for a longer deal. Either way it's a win-win for the UFC with a huge Croatian population in Cologne expected to show for the fight.

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