UFC President Dana White Sours on Boston, “Great to Hang Out, Not a Great Place to Put on Fights”

August 12, 2013
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Dana White UFC on Fox 8 Post_9291UFC president Dana White loves Boston, but following Saturday’s UFC Fight Night 26: Shogun vs. Sonnen event at the TD Gardens, it may be a while before he signs off on returning to the market.

The UFC has had to jump through numerous hoops to get its event all the way to fight day, and White is none too appreciative of that. In fact, when asked if the issues the company has had to deal with in getting Shogun vs. Sonnen off the ground affect his thinking about returning, he couldn’t deny it.

“I’d be a liar if I said no,” White said during a Monday conference call promoting the show.

One of the first hurdles the promotion ran into was a state requirement that all fighters have a social security number to be eligible to compete. That sounds simple enough, but it was troublesome considering many of the fighters on the card are from outside the United States.

Another issue developed when the Massachusetts State Athletic Commission (MSAC) was unsure how to handle Chael Sonnen’s testosterone replacement therapy due to its lack of experience in the matter.

If that weren’t enough, Unite Here – otherwise known as the Culinary Union – did its best to sabotage the event, filing separate complaints that minors should not be allowed to attend the event and that Sonnen should be denied a license “because Mr. Sonnen has been convicted of a crime involving moral turpitude.”

The “moral turpitude” claim stems from Sonnen’s January 2011 conviction on federal money laundering.

In reality, White believes the Culinary Union’s complaints had little to do with the charges cited in their letters. They had more to do with the fact that the union is battling to unionize Station Casinos, which is owned by UFC co-owners the Fertitta brothers.

“What they want is Station Casinos,” White declared. “If they get Station Casinos, it’s another $10 million a year to the union. So they’ll use any dirty tactic and spend as much money as it takes to try to get Station Casinos.”

The MSAC held a hearing this past Thursday to consider Sonnen’s TRT usage and the Culinary Union’s complaints.

The UFC eventually met all of the requirements on the social security issue, Sonnen’s TRT usage was approved contingent upon meeting specified testosterone levels both pre- and post-fight, and the Culinary Union complaints were eventually shot down, but enduring the process didn’t sit well with White.

Having grown up in the region and having lived for a time in Boston, White loves the city and is a fan of the Boston Red Sox and New England Patriots, but he may be inclined to save Boston for his personal enjoyment in the future.

“It’s a great place to hang out with my friends and eat, but not a great place to put on fights.”

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  • Mark McDowall

    I don’t see why they are focusing soooo much time/effort/money in the NE…they are going to continually run in to these issues up there because the unions run so deep.

    • Timothy Malone

      But isnt that letting the union push them around? There are fight fans in the NE, and its not like unions don’t have considerable power in the midwest and west coast as well.

      • Nunzi

        Unions have democratically elected leaders. They want better wages in Las Vegas, this is probably what their members want, an aggressive attack on those keeping their wages down.

      • Mark McDowall

        I agree…But do you hear about them having issues with the unions anywhere else but that area? The Unions are huge in Chicago…but they didn’t cause a fuss there. They are big in California…no issues there. They are just trying to prove a point…as big as the UFC is they wont change a damn thing up there.

  • mcoope3

    It could be that the culinary union made extra nuisance efforts because they thought interfering with the first UFC event on the new Fox Sports 1 channel would get their point across better than interfering with some other random event, not because it was in Boston. If the first FS1 event was in Vegas, Dallas, or Phoenix, similar efforts might have been made by UFC’s enemies to harm the UFC’s relationship with Fox.

    • Christopher LaHaise

      If it was most other places, it wouldn’t be an issue, because most of the cities know how to handle a UFC event. If it were Vegas, the union would have been toast.

      • Mark McDowall

        Hence the reason they should stay the hell of the north east.

        • Jay

          Jersey doesn’t seem to give them problems at all and had the best Athletic Commission in the US according to Dana … probably because the mob still runs the unions and not the more invasive, more invasive, disgusting, and larger criminal organization – government. 40 years ago, in Jersey City, all employees were content with the Unions. Now they can pull things like make you Captain of a fire department and not pay you a captain’s wage for 3 years minus 1 day, but make you make Captain taxes/benefits, downgrade you back to on the day before you’re made permanent, switch in a new sucker.

    • Mark McDowall

      Your right in the fact that they wanted to interfere with the UFC at a big event for them…But its because it was in Boston, or anywhere in that part of the country, that it was an issue. EVERYTHING…and I mean EVERYTHING is union up there. And if they don’t like you…they will make life a living hell for you.

      My dads company did a trade show up in Boston one time for his old business. After the show one of his guys shrink wrapped a pallet of stuff they were taking back to the office. A union worker came by and went ape sh*t at him saying he was taking work away from them etc etc. Kinda funny considering we saw about 12 of them standing outside the door near our stand smoking and sitting on their butts. We then had to talk to a union rep, explain the situation…then wait for them to decide what to do about it, which took 2 other guys to help decide, then unwrap the pallet and have a union worker do it?!?!? He then received a letter about a month later stating that it was noted in the “union supervisors log” that there was an issue at our booth…in other words it was a ton of BS.

      The whole Sonnen “was convicted of a crime involving moral turpitude” so he shouldn’t get a license is BS. Pretty much any state can deny a license for that…but since the union wanted to be difficult they brought it up.

      Look for the Union to be a thorn in the UFC’s side for a looonnngggggg time…

      • taylor2008

        I love watching the UFC but I am familiar with what the unions can do. They hare breaking the state where I live. Every time they get their people raises our home owner taxes go up or consumer goods are raised.

        • Mike mckinney

          Do you think if they all agreed to take a pay cut that your consumer goods price would drop? Just curious?

          • Nunzi

            Greatest Generation gave us Unions with blood and sweat and sticking together, now fools today are brainwashed to not appreciate that sacrifice or any of the benefits from that movement.

          • MrMMA

            “The Greatest Generation” needed unions to gain a voice as there were no laws in place to protect the workers. There is very little need for unions today as there are literally hundreds of laws specifically designed to protect workers at the local, state, and federal levels. Unions provide very little to the communities they supposedly protect other than raising costs to a point where they are unsustainable (see -> Airlines, Auto, Telemarketing, etc.). Why do you think manufacturing jobs have gone overseas? Why do you think more and more companies are moving to ‘right-to-work’ states? Unions are destroying this nation and are doing a disservice to the last generation that did bleed in order to make things better for us today. I’m in no way saying there is absolutely no place for unions in today’s world but I don’t believe the need is as big as their ‘leaders’ would suggest there is. There are too many stories of corrupt union leaders stealing money from their members. How are the Culinary Union leaders helping their members by wasting Millions of $$$ each year fighting with Zuffa? Think about all the dues their hardworking members are paying so these ‘leaders’ can attempt to bully Zuffa into unionizing Station Casinos. The Fertittas have gone on record stating they are not keeping their workers from unionizing. The workers don’t want to unionize because they see no benefit in it.

          • Alex Anderson

            Yes, companies with unionized workers have hard a hard time competing against companies from other countries because other countries often have terrible employment standards, and because exchange rates are often heavily skewed due to reasons that should not, but are allowed to make it very difficult to treat workers fairly and still be able to remain competitive. My heart isn’t set on unions, unions are not unlike corporate communism, everybody in some select groups benefits from a set of mutual protections, certain kinds of price fixing, etc. whilst other groups are left out of the deal. Practically speaking, unions have tended to divide the middle and lower classes against each other, at least to some extent, and they often end up promoting to distrust between corporations and wokers, which is bad for everybody, and goes against both communist AND capitalist principles.

          • taylor2008

            No…the damage is already done. They arent going to reverse prices because of it. Dont try to defend the unions. I know 2 people who are union and they are against them. They agree with me on how unions are hurting this country.

          • Mike mckinney

            I do believe that all unions are not created equal. I’ve worked for four different ones in my lifetime. I currently work for one. I’m never going to “not defend the unions” because you and a couple friends don’t like them.
            2 of the unions I worked for were pretty much crap. Very uninvolved, and seemed as if they were just collecting dues. Another was okay, and the current one I work for is pretty good.
            I’m not sure what your friends are going through. I’m yet to find a trade that has a union, and doesn’t have a non union segment. I also haven’t seen a trades non union segment giving more to workers.
            So if your friends feel bad for the company they could always donate money back to the company. You know, to help them from being so screwed. Them giving money back might even start a movement. Maybe everyone else will start to help the company, and America out.

          • taylor2008

            As of right now the unions arent giving back…they are just taking. Many of the unions pension funds are very low. So what will they do? They will have their workers go on strike to get more money. When that happens goods will go up even more and my taxes will rise again. Every time I turn around my homeowner taxes go up. Prices have come way down, but not my taxes.
            My brother has his own painting business and he paints new construction. He blows the unions painters out of the water quality wise. I have seen union painters at other construction sights and they are lazy and do a half ass job.
            Of course most people that are union support the unions because they get them higher pay, benefits and pensions. The only problem union people dont see it from our side because we are taking the brunt of their raises and under funded pensions.

  • Nunzi

    Can’t do business in Boston, then you can’t do business anywhere. It’s an easy place to get things done, just ask the Film Industry which has been flocking to Boston in recent years, as well as the Bio Tech industry. If you want to bully people around than Boston is an awful place to do business. We aren’t bullied easilly. That’s probably the problem Dana has.
    Boston is one of biggest TV markets in US.
    Ask The Patriot’s owner, or Red Sox Owners if they like doing business here?
    Don’t know much about Dana White, but he seems like kind of a fool to be running a company worth so much.

    • Werdoomb

      no, the fact that Dana was able to get you to waste 2 minutes of your life responding to a line he said tells me that he is good at what he does.