McCrory: UFC happy to have access to MSGPosted: Updated:
Tuesday the New York State Assembly passed legislation to legalize professional mixed martial arts in New York State by a 113-25 margin. The legislation had previous passed in the Senate each of the previous seven years before failing in the Assembly the previous six.
The bill now awaits Governor Andrew Cuomo's signature before an expected 120 day period for rules and regulations to be discussed and determined. After that, professional MMA events can start being held in the Empire State.
Lorenzo Fertitta, Chairman and CEO of UFC, said in a conference call on Tuesday that they're looking at holding events in New York as early as fourth quarter 2016, hoping to get two in by the end of the year. While New York City has the most appeal, he said they're looking at Buffalo, Rochester, Syracuse, and Utica as well. Obviously, Madison Square Garden, though, is the crown jewel.
Once considered the Mecca of Boxing, MSG is arguably one of the most recognized names in terms of sports venues. UFC has been chomping at the bit in recent years lobbying for New York to legalize MMA so that they can hold events at the Garden.
"I know that it's been the bane of UFC's existence to not be able to hold an event in Madison Square Garden which is one of the most prolific venues in combat sports," said Tamdan McCrory, Binghamton area native and UFC Fighter. "I think that milestone is a large achievement. I think it's going to be a great opportunity, it's going to draw lots of fans, it's going to sell lots of Pay-per-views, and that money is going to trickle down to poor old saps like me who will be fighting on the card, most likely."
Fertitta said that the first UFC event in New York may not necessarily be in the city, or at MSG. McCrory says that he has been approached about being on the card for the first event held at Madison Square Garden.