The New York Public Integrity Research Group has crunched the numbers for Governor Andrew Cuomo’s top political donors, and it turns out the human punching bags at Ultimate Fighting Championship are amongst the top contributors to the gov’s re-election campaign.
And why does that matter? Well, the UFC has been (unsuccessfully) attempting to lift New York’s ban on mixed martial arts since it was outlawed in the early 1990s.
Regardless, in the first 18 months of the 2011-2014 election cycle, Cuomo’s campaign coffers have grown by more than $5 million, with at least 102 donors coughing up more than $40,000 each. UFC donated more than $100,000 thus far.
In regards to the donors, the NYPIRG finds that many of them took advantage of “loopholes” to give more to Cuomo’s campaign than is technically allowed by the state’s “generous” campaign finance laws:
Several of these donors took advantage of loopholes in New York’s campaign finance law, using multiple subsidiaries or LLCs to give significantly more money than the state’s generous limits on individual giving. Many of these large donors gave at or near the maximum combined primary and general election individual donation level of $60,800. In the event the governor does not face a primary opponent in 2014, the campaign committee will be required to refund as much as $19,700 per donor.
As for the UFC, the group — under the L.L.C. Ultimate Fighting Productions — has dropped a total of $105,000 on Cuomo’s re-election effort; again, in an apparent effort to win his favor in the group’s attempt to have the ban on the sport lifted.
New York is one of only two states that’s outlawed MMA fighting (Connecticut is the only other place where two consenting adults beating the shit out of each other in a regulated environment is illegal). In 46 other states, MMA fighting is allowed but regulated.
A bill to lift the ban — sponsored by upstate Assemblyman Joe Morelle — has received bipartisan support in both chambers of the New York Legislature. For some reason, however, the bill never reached a vote in the Assembly during this year’s session.
It’s unclear whether Cuomo supports lifting the ban.
See the full list of the gov’s top donors below.