Although neither state currently sanctions mixed-martial arts, New York or Massachusetts — or more specifically, New York City or Boston — will host a UFC event in 2008, UFC President Dana White guarantees.
The UFC’s head honcho made the promise in today’s edition of The Patriot Ledger.
“I’m going to be as bold as to say I guarantee you either we’ll be in the Boston Garden or Madison Square Garden (by the end of the year),” White told the newspaper.
New York City’s Madison Square Garden is one of the sporting world’s most legendary venues. The 20,000-capacity arena initially rose to fame by hosting classic boxing events. The Boston Garden (officially named the TD Banknorth Garden) is a 19,600-capacity venue that opened in 1995.
However, the UFC only hosts events in states that regulate the sport under the organization’s current rules. To date, the UFC has never hosted an event in New York City, where the sport isn’t regulated, or Massachusetts, which permits only a handful of MMA shows each year through special licenses.
In fact, White will be at one of those rare Massachusetts events on Friday when World Championship Fighting hosts an event at Shriners Auditorium in Wilmington. Former UFC fighter Dan Lauzon meets late replacement Frank Latina in the night’s main event, and an array of notable fighters — including Marcus Davis, Mauricio “Shogun” Rua and Kenny Florian — will be on hand to sign autographs. White is scheduled to be a special guest at the show.
Currently, 32 U.S. states and the District of Columbia sanction MMA, though a handful of additional states are in or near the final stages of approval.
Although the UFC has ventured to a few new destinations in the past couple years, the number is expected to grow substantially this year. Additionally, White has promised that UFC Fight Night events — once held only in Nevada, Florida and California — will travel to new locales in 2008. Colorado, for example, will host UFC Fight Night 13 — its first UFC event in more than 12 years — on April 2.
For more information about other potential destinations for the UFC, check out the UFC Host Cities archives here on MMAjunkie.com (www.mmajunkie.com).