Professional mixed martial arts is quickly off to a great start in the state of New York, two months after lawmakers ended its status as the only state to ban it. While there have been a handful of bouts in the state since the change took effect, an upcoming UFC event at Madison Square Garden is expected to be the real benchmark for MMA. Promoters say it’s likely just the start of a long relationship between New York City and mixed martial arts. With such historic venues in New York, it only seems fitting that major events will be thrown there. There are several great boxing venues around the world and in the united states but none quite Parallel with the Garden. With such an important place in boxing history, Madison Square Garden is the premier venue for mixed martial arts. Joel Fisher, an executive vice president at the Garden, said “it’s only fitting that the first UFC fight in New York state is taking place at ‘The World’s Most Famous Arena,’” one of its many nicknames.
“It should have been legal in New York 15 years ago,”~ Scott Coker
We all know the UFC isn’t the only major promotion, even if it is the most famous in the United States. Bellator has been holding its own for a long time. The president of Bellator, Scott Coker was quoted as saying, “It should have been legal in New York 15 years ago,” the promotion is hoping to hold an event next year at the Garden or at Barclays Center. “We’re going to bring a big, big show, probably the biggest card in the history of Bellator.” It has long been known that there are some very accomplished fighters from New York. There are several top caliber schools. The legalization in their home state is awesome for fighters from New York who have had always had to travel elsewhere to fight professionally. “This is a dream come true,” middleweight Chris Weidman said in September. A native New Yorker, he who will be one of several fighters in Saturday’s pay-per-view UFC 205 event.
State lawmakers and Democratic Gov. Andrew Cuomo agreed in April to end the two-decade old ban following years of failed efforts by MMA supporters. The law authorizing the sport took effect in September. Cuomo concluded the move would boost the economy by luring bouts to the nation’s largest city as well as upstate venues, with one estimate that MMA could generate $137 million in annual economic activity. In response to critics concerned about the sport’s violence, lawmakers added provisions that raise the insurance required to $50,000 for fighter injuries, a $50,000 death benefit and $1 million for life-threatening brain injuries. The law was also intended to regulate existing amateur mixed martial arts events. It’s a huge expense for promoters, and that prevents guys just starting their career from being able to fight in New York. I know this is true but I feel that it will change in the future. MMA is extremely young in the state of New York and a major victory was won, there will still be obstacles though.