By Zach Arnold | February 4, 2014
— Steve Tetreault (@STetreaultDC) February 4, 2014
The puppetmaster, Sig Rogich, put on a show for the media writers who either didn’t know or didn’t want to talk about the motives behind the UFC/boxing Lou Ruvo brain study press conference in Washington D.C. on Tuesday.
Nevada’s most powerful political fixer, top UFC political fixer, and close political ally of Harry Reid & John McCain orchestrated a slick diversion to push the alleged generosity of fight promoters who have donated cash to the Cleveland Clinic to study brain damage amongst hundreds of fighters.
And, as I noted last Friday, it was a public relations tactic to try to justify why the Ali Act shouldn’t be amended for MMA and why promoters & athletic commissions shouldn’t be sued in the future for concussion-related or testosterone-related lawsuits.
Saturday: UFC president bemoans a dearth of KOs at UFC 169. Tuesday: UFC CEO appears at press conference to decry head trauma.
— Jeff Wagenheim SI (@jeffwagenheim) February 4, 2014
On Tuesday, John McCain didn’t even pretend to hold back on the motive of the press conference. The man who pushed the Ali Act to cover boxing says that MMA regulation should be a states rights issue. Fox Sports:
MMA is not all the way there yet. A reporter asked McCain on Tuesday if he wants to regulate “extreme fighting” on a federal level, which nearly made Fertitta grimace.
“That was kind of a bummer — any time I hear ‘cage’ or ‘extreme fighting’ or something like that,” Fertitta said. “But compared to what it used to be? That’s nothing. I’ll take that all day long.”
McCain’s answer to the question was political in nature.
“You want to be very careful not to encroach on the state’s abilities to do this regulation,” McCain said.
Lorenzo grimaced because the reporter probably saw through the political palaver of McCain. The man touting federal regulation for boxing is not touting it for MMA, a sport that he supposedly isn’t a fan of?
The point of the presser was to give people in combat sports political cover from federal oversight of all combat sports by using the Lou Ruvo Cleveland Clinic brain study as a shield. The puppetmaster Sig Rogich strikes again.
- Tuesday’s presser was labeled a bi-partisan political effort given that Harry Reid & John McCain were involved. Rogich happens to be close to both men. That closeness will ensure that there’s no political momentum to amend the Ali Act to cover MMA.
- Rogich & Lorenzo helped Harry Reid in his senate re-election campaign against Sharron Angle.
- Rogich helped run parts of John McCain’s 2008 Presidential campaign.
- Rogich, former Nevada State Athletic Commission chairman, is close with Marc Ratner and with Nevada Governor Brian Sandoval. Rogich has sway with the direction of NSAC, next door to the Attorney General’s office.
- Rogich, along with Bob Arum’s wife Lovee, are on the board of directors for the Lou Ruvo Cleveland Clinic center.
- Rogich & Lorenzo even appeared together in Carson City for an ill-fated meeting in front of the Gaming Control Board to vouch for Tim Poster, a disgraced business partner of Tom Breitling (who is in charge of Ultimate Gaming for the Fertitta family empire).
- Rogich is the founder of the World Series of Fighting, the unofficial UFC bastard child that, one could argue, is helping as a stalking horse promotion to attract fighters who may have otherwise signed with Bellator.
Someone ought to make sure that the next time Teddy Atlas sounds off about extensive federal regulation needed in combat sports, he can thank Sig Rogich and the parties he represents for not accomplishing such regulatory oversight.
In various conversations I’ve had with MMA writers this past weekend, not one writer recognized the name Sig Rogich or even knew of his background despite the months worth of articles I’ve written on him (you can read them here). Rogich is the most powerful political fixer for the UFC in both Nevada and Washington D.C. Rogich has political power that can be used in dangerous ways. It’s time for the press to do their job and start dirt-digging on the man who is basically orchestrating political favors for a lot of well-monied individuals. If the press continues to treat Rogich with kid gloves, that will be slimy behavior on display.