Dana White and Lorenzo Fertitta at UFC 129
Let’s try this again.
A bill to allow mixed martial arts in New York once again passed the State Senate on Monday, on a 42-18 vote. It’s still far from a done deal, however, that MMA will gain sanctioning in the state.
The bill has been this far along before, passing in 2010 on a 32-26 vote. That’s progress, but the bill still has to pass on the Assembly floor and make it into the state budget, past stumbling blocks.
Once again getting so close to opening the door to a state that the promotion has coveted, UFC officials are pushing harder than ever to keep the bill moving on through the assembly and into action.
“It’s time to bring the fastest growing sport in the world to New York,” UFC Chairman and CEO Lorenzo Fertitta said. “We want to thank the State Senate, and we’re confident that when Assembly members take an objective look at our safety record, popularity with their constituents and the economic benefits we would bring to the State, they will reach the same conclusion. With every passing month, our sport gets more and more popular around the world and we hope UFC fans in New York will finally be able to see live UFC events in their home state soon.”
“Last year the vote was 32-26, and this time it was 42-18, and we’re excited the decision-makers in New York are looking at this sport for what it is, the safest contact sport in the world,” said UFC President Dana White. “We have Jon Jones – a New Yorker – who is the UFC light heavyweight champion of the world, who could defend his title anywhere in the world, but right now he can’t defend it in Madison Square Garden in New York. It is time that New York fans get to see the best live experience in sports without jumping on a train to New Jersey or a plane to Canada.”
Not only were the bosses making the push, so was UFC light heavyweight champion Jon Jones, who wants to fight on his own turf.
“We’re so close to the time I’ll be able to fight in my home state of New York,” said current UFC light heavyweight champion Jon “Bones” Jones. “Growing up in Rochester it’s always been my dream to compete in front of family and friends in the greatest state and biggest media market in the country.”
A recent study by HR&A Advisors estimated that holding two Ultimate Fighting Championship events in New York (one at Madison Square Garden and one in Buffalo) would create roughly $16 million in new spending. Additionally, the study found smaller MMA operators would likely hold somewhere around 70 events that would bring an additional $4 million. In total, $23 million of annual new spending and hundreds of new jobs will be created in the local economy by regulating MMA.
Currently 45 other U.S. states regulate MMA, but New York is the last major holdout.