By Zach Arnold | May 16, 2015
Official lobbying records from the state of California show that Zuffa LLC, the parent company of UFC, spent $30,000 in Q1 of 2015 to lobby for state Senate Bill 469.
Senate Bill 469, introduced by Senator Appropriations chair Ricardo Lara, would:
- Extend the life of the California State Athletic Commission until the year 2020
- Open the pathway for the Athletic Commission to perform out-of-competition blood and urine drug testing of any licensed fighter
- Allow the Athletic Commission to fine a fighter a percentage of their purse for failing a drug test (as opposed to the current standard $2,500 fine) plus give administrative discretion on imposing fines, giving a fighter 30 days to appeal or else accept punishment
- Authorize the Athletic Commission to recover costs for arbitration proceedings from parties involved in such hearings (contract disputes)
The bill is currently in the Senator Appropriations committee and placed on the suspense file, meaning it will be revisited after a new state budget has been passed.
Intriguingly, a Senate Appropriations committee analysis of the bill claims yearly projected Athletic Commission expenditures of $1.6 million dollars. Recently, the Athletic Commission’s spending authority was pushed from $1.2 million a year to $1.44 million a year. The Senate analysis, curiously, projects annual Athletic Commission revenues at $1.7 million. In the Athletic Commission’s current state, you would be lucky to get a $1.3 million year for revenue. You would have to go back to the days of Armando Garcia to even come close to sniffing a $1.7 million year for revenue. It appears the increased projection for revenue is based on changing the fine structure of fighters who fail drug tests.
The SA committee analysis also claims that out-of-competition drug testing would cost the Athletic Commission $100,000 more each year to implement.
Amusingly, the Senate report also makes this claim:
The Fund is expected to have a reserve of approximately $1 million at the end of the 2015-16 fiscal year, which is sufficient to support the additional expenditures related to this bill while maintaining a healthy reserve for the duration of the sunset period.
Given two recent lawsuit settlements and impossible-to-make monthly projections for revenues that are hit-or-miss, asserting a claim of $1 million dollars in the Athletic Commission bank account at the end of the Fiscal Year in two months seems… ambitious.
UFC’s lobbying firm in California is the Sacramento-based Platinum Advisors LLC. Tim Lynch from PA is UFC’s top conduit at the capitol. John Carvelli, the Chairman of the California State Athletic Commission, uses Platinum Advisors LLC for lobbying efforts on behalf of his Liberty Dental Inc. company.