…than rape jokes on social media,
…than a “professional athlete” who has pled guilty to domes c abuse,
…than misogynis c and derogatory comments about women,
…than perverse hypermasculinity,
…than HUMAN CAGEFIGHTING.
March 15, 2013
Honorable Sheldon Silver
Speaker of the Assembly
932 Legislative Office Building
Albany, N.Y. 12248
Re: Uphold Ban Against Professional Cage Fighting in New York
Dear Speaker Silver:
As advocates for survivors of domestic and sexual assault, we are writing to urge you to uphold the State of New
York’s ban against professional cage fighting and to resist efforts by the Las Vegas-based Ultimate Fighting
Championship (UFC) to bring these violent spectacles to New York.
No state that aspires to be the “progressive capital of the nation,” as Governor Cuomo asserted in his recent State of
the State speech, should lower itself by embracing an industry dominated by a company that tolerates joking about
sexual violence. Fighters in the UFC have joked about rape in public and one has appeared in videos that are
demeaning to women and make fun of sexual violence.
Why, in a state that just enacted tough new legislation addressing the epidemic of domestic assault,1 would we
reverse course and expose our children to the violent misogyny and perverse forms of masculinity that are
celebrated in the world of amateur and professional cage fighting?
Last year, UFC fighter Quinton “Rampage” Jackson appeared in an online video in which he makes light of sexual
assault by pretending to attempt to rape a woman in a parking garage using chloroform and zip ties.2 Even after a
coalition of women’s groups, clergy and academics expressed outrage over Jackson’s behavior, and called for his
removal from a cage fighting event, the UFC allowed him to compete on national television.3
One prominent UFC fighter wrote on Twitter, “Rape is the new missionary,” 4 while another UFC fighter wrote, “If
a rape van was called a surprise van, more women wouldn’t mind going for rides in them.” 5 UFC president Dana
White has set a despicable example by repeatedly using abusive language that is derogatory to women.”6 (See the
attached document for incidents of socially irresponsible behavior by people associated with the UFC.)
Jokes about rape are never funny. Rape jokes are not funny to the 1.4 million women in New York who reported
having been raped at some point in their lives; and they are not funny to the 3.8 million New York women who
reported experiencing sexual violence victimization other than rape during their lifetimes.7
We strongly encourage you to maintain the ban against professional cage fighting events in New York.
(See List of Supporters)
Respectfully submitted, and on behalf of the following supporters,
End Violence Against Women International (EVAWI)
The Arab American Family Support Center
New York Asian Women’s Center
Moshe Rozdzial, Ph.D.
The National Organization for Men Against Sexism (NOMAS)
Joanne N. Smith
Founder and Executive Director
Girls for Gender Equity Inc.
Press Release, “Governor Cuomo Signs Legislation Strengthening New York’s Domestic Violence Laws,” Oct. 25, 2012,
“Rampage Jackson — How to Pick Up a Gurl — Fast,” http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SfG5amLtWEQ
Hirst, Ellen Jean, “Video sparks protest of Ultimate Fighting event,” Jan. 25, 2013, Chicago Tribune,
quinton-rampage-jackson; NBC 5 Chicago, “Groups Want UFC Star Booted for Racy Videos,” Jan. 26, 2013,
Darlene, “Women’s groups protest UFC’s Quinton `Rampage’ Jackson,” Jan. 25, 2013, FOX 32 Chicago,
Associated Press, “Group Criticizes UFC After Fighter’s Rape Tweet,” Nov. 12, 2012, CBS-Las Vegas,
McNeil, Franklin, “UFC fires Miguel Torres for tweet,” Dec. 9, 2011, ESPN.com,
Video (1:55 to 2:00), “UFC President Dana White’s Notorious Rant,” April 3, 2009, http://www.blinkx.com/watch-
video/ufc-president-dana-white-notorious-rant/FYZcYppmYJ5wwYruuKpvpw; YouTube video (3:51 to 4:06),
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, “The National Intimate Partner and Sexual Violence Survey: 2010 Summary
Report,” November 2011, http://www.cdc.gov/ViolencePrevention/pdf/NISVS_Report2010-a.pdf