The long-standing feud between the UFC and the Culinary Worker Union Local 226 is about to pick up.
And the battleground won’t be found in Las Vegas or the Octagon, but on the internet.
For background, the Culinary Union — an affiliate of UNITE HERE — for years has attempted to unionize the employees of Station Casinos, a gaming and entertainment company in Las Vegas. The majority owners of Station Casinos are Frank Fertitta III and Lorenzo Fertitta, who are also majority owners of Zuffa LLC, the owner/operator of the UFC.
While Station Casinos and UFC are different legal entities with different sets of minority owners, the UFC has often been a prime source for attacks from the Culinary Union.
And perhaps in a shift from playing defense to assuming some semblance of offense, the UFC has created a website in what it says is an attempt to “correct those inaccuracies and set the record straight regarding the motivation for this campaign, while highlighting the UFC’s role as a strong community leader.”
From TheTruthAboutCulinary226.com …
The Truth About Culinary 226 website provides information on Culinary Workers Union Local 226 (“Culinary Union”), an affiliate of UNITE HERE, ongoing campaign of harassment against the Ultimate Fighting Championship® (UFC®) and its partners, under the guise of concern about the conduct of some UFC fighters. However, the Culinary Union’s actual agenda has nothing to do with such conduct. This website’s purpose is to set the record straight regarding the true motivations of the Culinary Union’s smear campaign.
The UFC, with more than 400 athletes, is an occasional easy target. Hate speech, homophobic slurs, threats and off-color jokes from fighters — as well as questionable comments from UFC President Dana White — catch the attention of the Culinary Union, which points them out on Twitter (@FightFairMMA) and on a blog that plays off the MMA organization’s acronym called Unfit For Children.
The reason why this conflict is building now can be found in New York, where MMA has been banned since 1997. The UFC, recognizing the golden apple to be had in The Big Apple, is anxious to hold live shows in New York. The Culinary Union is quick to point out the million-plus dollars the UFC has spent on lobbying in New York, not to mention the various clergy and faith leaders and local politicians who want the ban upheld.
On its new website, the UFC details the history of the union, its anti-UFC campaign and how much money it has been spent along the way. And with union politics keeping the UFC from getting MMA legalized in New York, it’s no wonder the UFC has taken a more aggressive approach. Few things get White’s blood boiling or curse words flying than mention of the Culinary Union.
But don’t expect the Culinary Union to back down any time soon. This fight is going five rounds and beyond — with no knockout or tapout in sight.