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America’s 2016 Yuge Nevada Nightmare: Hillary, Culinary Union, Trump, and the Fertittas

By Zach Arnold | February 21, 2016

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We’re one step closer to the classiest, most luxurious political cage match in American Presidential history — and Nevada will be a major battle between two of America’s most famous egoists.

In one corner, it will (likely) be Donald Trump and the major casino bosses in Nevada including Steve Wynn plus Frank & Lorenzo Fertitta.

In the other corner, (likely) Hillary Clinton with Bob Arum, outgoing Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid, and the powerful Culinary Union. The arch-nemesis of the Fertitta family.

Complicating matters in this three-ring circus is what side will each casino boss be on. Sheldon Adelson cares most about Israel and is friendly to politicians using military force. Adelson also owns the Las Vegas Review-Journal newspaper. Other casino bosses have poured money into Democratic lobbying firm Subject Matter under the American Gaming Association umbrella. Throw in Governor Brian Sandoval and you have an all-out battle royale in a top purplish swing-state.

It’s hard to see a path for Trump to win Nevada… but he has some wealthy allies on his side. Trump’s a huge UFC fan and has been a big supporter of combat sports for decades. If there’s one person who the Fertitta family can count on to not amend the Ali Act, it would be Trump. The Culinary Union in Las Vegas has used their political heft in trying to build momentum for both amending the Ali Act to cover MMA and also in the fight over MMA legislation in the state of New York.

Both the UFC & Trump share a common enemy: the Culinary Union. The Union protested outside of Trump’s palace last August in order to encourage workers to join the union. Two months later, Trump filed a lawsuit against the Culinary & Bartenders Unions. Two months after that lawsuit, workers at Trump International joined the Culinary Union.

The war between Trump and CU is real. The war between the Fertitta family and CU is real. Now there’s even bigger stakes to be had.

On Saturday, the Democrats held their Nevada caucus and Hillary Clinton won. According to The New York Times, Harry Reid reportedly placed a phone call with the Culinary Union and with casino executives to let their employees attend the caucuses. This helped Hillary Clinton win Clark County by 10%. The Culinary Union was staying neutral in the primary race between Hillary Clinton & Bernie Sanders. Sanders has been making in-roads with Latino & African-American voters but not fast enough to beat Hillary’s coalition of supporters. Sanders continues to do well with younger voters.

When the General Election takes place in November, the Culinary Union and the casino bosses will play a significant role in determining who will win Nevada. With Reid leaving the Senate, the UFC is losing a key political ally on Capitol Hill. UFC needs a political heavyweight on their side. Trump could be that guy. He would absolutely go along with what they want to accomplish. In order to win the Presidency, Trump needs to win Nevada and that means he needs organizational muscle on the ground with assistance from the Fertittas. Not only some muscle in competing with the Culinary Union but also support from UFC’s fan base, largely made up of male voters aged 18-to-35. This demographic matches up nicely with the younger voters who have been supporting Sanders in the Democratic primary. The Bernie Bros.

Why would the Fertittas consider helping Trump out? If Trump wins, 1) the Ali Act doesn’t get amended to cover Mixed Martial Arts, 2) the National Labor Relations Board won’t be breathing down UFC’s neck, and 3) the Feds won’t go after UFC on any sort of anti-trust/monopoly claims.

Conversely, Hillary Clinton will need all the fire power she can get from the Culinary Union, Harry Reid, and Bob Arum in Las Vegas if she wants to win Nevada. It is not a stretch to guess that two of the concessions the Culinary Union could request from Hillary would involve 1) a commitment to amend the Ali Act to cover MMA and 2) pressure in attacking the independent contractor status of UFC fighters.

Other than that, nothing too much at stake in Nevada this November. Just keep Bill away from the Octagon girls.

Topics: Media, MMA, UFC, Zach Arnold | 28 Comments » | Permalink | Trackback |

28 Responses to “America’s 2016 Yuge Nevada Nightmare: Hillary, Culinary Union, Trump, and the Fertittas”

  1. Jeff M. says:

    Really fascinating. Great work, Zach.

  2. Safari_Punch says:

    “Yeah but who’s side is he on?”

  3. 45 Huddle says:

    It’s a one person race at this point. Nobody on the republican side has a chance of winning the general election. The republicans have lost 5 of the last 6 popular votes for president. They have gone more to the right this election and America’s demographic are changing in the democrats favor more and more each year.

    This is why the rational republicans cringe at Trump. They know the party needed to come closer to the center…. Not talk about banning Muslims and building walls.

    I’m not sure if I want to see the Ali act cover MMA…. But something needs to be done to give the fighters more power in the conversation.

    • rst says:

      “They know the party needed to come closer to the center….”

      But if you give me a choice between a liberal,
      and a faux liberal,
      I might as well choose the liberal.

    • Mark says:

      In those “if the election were held today…” polls, Rubio beats Clinton by 5 points.

      • 45 Huddle says:

        Those don’t mean much. There is a reason the Republican Senate Majority leader just told Republicans that if Trump wins the nomination…. They can run negative ads on him.

        And Trump is ahead of Hillary in those same polls too. They know when it comes time to vote…. They don’t have the demographics to win.

        • rst says:

          “There is a reason the Republican Senate Majority leader just told Republicans that if Trump wins the nomination…. They can run negative ads on him.”

          Whats that reason 45?

          Is it because its an inbred GOP establishment,
          call it neo-cons if you will,
          that have been part and parcel to nothing but lib agenda creep in exchange for a Halliburton profit for 30 years?

  4. 45 Huddle says:

    Do Anjos is injured. So now that fight doesn’t happen AND two divisions are clogged up even longer. What a mess.

    The UFC keeps making it easier and easier to watch their fights less.

  5. david m says:

    Conor vs Nate is going to be amazing. God, I wish these two had gotten more time to hype the fight. They are both very good at taunting and talking shit. Going to be a really fun fight.

  6. Chris says:

    Look at Zach getting his “Politics ” on! Good job.

    • rst says:

      ““Politics ” on!”

      I wonder if it was an interesting and admirable sport in the sepia days.
      Its so ugly and sickening in my lifetime.

  7. Joe says:

    How about the way Trump has been so strongly playing the pro-wrestling heel? Being that Trump and Vince McMahon are buddies, I guess this is no surprise, and the weak-sauce acts of all the other candidates was ripe for the million-dollar promos Trump’s been cutting. The way he crashed Glenn Beck’s Ted Cruz love show was a classic heel move, and it’s obvious these amateurs have no idea how to respond. None of them know how to stand up and be the face, even Rubio, who’s about to lose while playing the “Establishment Man” character.

  8. David M says:

    Conor is the best thing that has ever happened to mma. I mean that literally. I’ve never seen someone with his combination of wit and fighting ability in the sport before. The press conference was gold.

  9. jim allcorn says:

    If Diaz is actually in shape & can stay 100% focused & committed to his game plan, he may be able to pull off a shocker.
    I’m not saying that it’s particularly likely. But, I’m also not going to totally dismiss his chances either.
    McGregor is very much used to having the size advantage over his opponents, but now he’s the one facing a naturally larger man. And rather than just making a jump up a single weight class, he’s going up two.
    Now, I realize that he’s been successful at ’55 before, but ’70? That’s a huge move up from ’45. No matter what individuals like Brendan Shaub say ( what with his recent silly assertion that McGregor could “easily” blow right through Robbie Lawler whenever he wants to win the welterweight title ).
    Also, to my knowledge, McGregor’s never had to deal with anyone who has superior boxing skills to him. Now, combine that with Nate’s far superior Jiu Jitsu skills & his size/experience advantage… It could all make for a very long, miserable night for the Irishman.
    Or not.
    Maybe McGregor blows right through an out of shape, unmotivated, under-prepared Diaz like Josh Thompson did a couple of years back. We shall see.

    • 45 Huddle says:

      They are protecting Connor. Khabib volunteered to fight…. is in shape…. and has beaten the champion at 155 pounds.

      Instead they go for a guy outside of camp to fight.

  10. 45 Huddle says:

    11 years and 1 month

    The is the exact amount of time it took the UFC to have another non-title fight main even above a title fight.

    A slap in the face to women’s MMA.

    • 45 Huddle says:

      Not only has it not happened for over 11 years…. It has never happened in the post-TUF Era. And it only happened 3 times since Zuffa bought the company:

      UFC 48 – Shamrock/Kimo was main event while Mir/Sylvia was for the HW Title.

      UFC 50 – Ortiz/Cote was the main event while Hughes/GSP was for the WW Title.

      UFC 51 – Ortiz/Belfort was the main event while Arlovski/Sylvia was for the HW Title and Tanner/Terrell was for the MW Title. This was the last time it happened.

      Let’s put it this way…. That card was so long ago…. That of the 18 fighters on the card, only 1/3rd of them even had a fight since the start of 2015.

      Holm vs. Tate should be the main event….

      • Tradition Rules says:

        Yep, exactly how I feel.

        Just when you thought the UFC was lime boxing in one of the few was they SHOULD emulate boxing (always placing a championship fight in the main event, regardless of the weight class), theygo ahead and do this.

        And maybe this has to do with keeping McGregor happy, but you’d think they want to push the woman that beat their dominant champion media star (Rousey),who overnight became quite popular herself. The have the excuse that it is a title fight…..

        But, come to think of it, even more then the tack that McGregor will sell his fight better then Holmes would, being in the main event makes Nate vs Connor a 5 round fight, I think that is the real reason….Holmes vs Tate will be 5 rounds regardless.

        • Safari_Punch says:

          Look at it this way: if you were going to pick a fight to watch would it be Connor/Nate or Holmes/Tate? I’m sure all the various forms of media measurement, plus the fact McGregor is a champion (defending or not) all points to the fact that he should headline.

          And the UFC is like boxing in the sense that all of their cards are watered down now. Dana White used to be like a carnival barker in the mid 2000’s always saying how the UFC gives their fans stacked cards unlike boxing. Now they resort to selling female fighting to mostly men that watch, whether they want to watch it or not. Think about how brainwashed you have to be from Zuffa propaganda to actually care about women fighting as a whole.

          Ronda Rousey was the exception.

          Rousey was a star from Strikeforce, built up her name without Zuffa — because the UFC is the drizzling shits at building up any of their own fighters for the most part — and she finally lost. Does all that star power instantly transfer to Holly Holmes? Funny, Rousey was on Saturday Night Live in the last month and is going to be in the Sports Illustrated Swimsuit issue again, while also making a feature movie. Someone like that obviously headlines fights. Holmes? She’s a 34 year old fighter that finally showed fans something in a fight after previous lackluster fights against other challengers leading up to her championship bout. Nobody thought she had a chance to beat Rousey given how she performed in two earlier UFC bouts. She looked like the other challengers Rousey had faced in previous bouts: cannon fodder. She even fooled Rousey into a false sense of security and her fame has obviously gotten to her.

          I don’t blame the UFC for wanting to go with two fighters that are going to go all out and one of them is a champion and their most popular fighter.

          You two seriously need to take some time to reflect on whether you’re watching for quality fights or to watch a chick with a prop (a belt).

  11. jim allcorn says:

    I lost any & all respect that I had for McGregor after that bullshit move he pulled yesterday.
    Nate didn’t do a damned thing wrong, McGregor invaded his personal space & then took a cheap shot, knowing that he’d be safely protected from any sort of retaliation by his camp & security. Which, his little lap dog Dana White took it upon himself to make himself a member of, I see. He’s so bloody pathetic…
    I can not fucking wait for Conor to go the way of Ronda. And, mark my words, it’ll happen. Maybe not tomorrow night ( though I’m hoping like crazy that it does, hell, if I weren’t an atheist I’d be on my knees praying for a Diaz victory, that’s how much I detest McGregor right now ), but he’ll get his ass handed to him just like Rousey did.
    Who knows, maybe when it does he can join Ronda at her next suicide prevention meeting. He’ll likely need is as those that swallow their own hype & believe in their own egotistical bullshit seem to take their ass whoopings WAY too fucking seriously, yeah?

    • DIAZ'S PACKED BOWL says:

      Yeah, Im a bit confused as to why Cmac wasn’t fined for punching diaz. Shows the ufc is more hypocritical than ever, and that Cmac is a spoiled enabled brat…
      yeah conner punch him in the hand, hopefully you’ll break it and the fight is cancelled and you wont make a dime you mental midget, just a midget all around.
      I picked diaz for the 4th rd sub or 5th tko last week and im sticking to it.
      Conner is carrying too much weight and will sink.

  12. rst says:

    “Why would the Fertittas consider helping Trump out?”

    I’m pretty sure zuffa aren’t Trump voters.
    The Fertittas are probably Catholics and Dana is a notorious Atheist.

    Bernie voters all the way.

  13. klown says:

    I’m so happy Diaz beat McGregor. Awesome fight too. Holm vs Tate was also great. The rear naked choke still reigns supreme in 2016.

  14. jim allcorn says:

    I am damned near orgasmically happy over Nate’s win.
    Loved every single second of his demise.

  15. […] February, we discussed America’s 2016 yuge nightmare between Hillary Clinton & Donald Trump. Part of that equation would be the proxy war in Nevada […]

  16. Phil says:

    Such a fascinating re-read in light of recent news involving the culinary union. Thanks for all you’ve done Zach.


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