Cagewriter - Mixed Martial Arts

MMA's legalization in New York is on hold again. A bill that would've approved the sport passed again in the state senate, but stalled in the assembly. UFC owner Lorenzo Fertitta has worked for years to change the attitudes in the Empire State, but there's a force outside of the legislators that he says is holding up the entire process, the Culinary Union.

"Unfortunately in life and in politics things aren't always what they seem on the surface. It's not about MMA. It's about the fact that the Culinary Union is obviously very strong in New York. They have a strong political base there. They have been there forever and they are holding this bill up," Fertitta told "The MMA Insiders" on ESPNRadio1100 in Las Vegas.

Fertitta and his brother Frank also own Station Casinos which is one of the two largest non-union employers in the gaming industry. Fertitta said the economic impact that New York is missing out on each time the UFC would come to the state is staggering. He said when the promotion held UFC 129 in Toronto it pumped $45 million into the city's economy.

"The fact that [the Culinary Union] opposing this, at the end of the day, they're only hurting their own members which really doesn't make any sense," said Fertitta.

Fertitta says the votes are there to legalize MMA in N.Y. and residents are surprised when told why it hasn't already happened.

"Whenever I talk to or get in front of people who are residents of the state of New York, and you tell them what's going on, they're appalled. They're flabbergasted," Fertitta said. "It's just crazy that the Culinary Union would have enough political power to basically keep the democratic process from playing out."

UFC president Dana White is a little more blunt in expressing his feelings about the work of the union.

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