UFC still committed to bringing MMA to New York

Maggie Hendricks

UFC president Dana White and chairman Lorenzo Fertitta met with the press in New York City to make their commitment to the Big Apple clear. They announced via an online press conference that once MMA is regulated, the UFC will bring two shows to Madison Square Garden. According to studies from an independent researcher, those two shows would bring $23 million and more than 200 jobs to N.Y.

"By bringing UFC events to New York, the state will see a positive financial impact," White said. "The arenas will get to host major UFC events and local hotels, restaurants, and other businesses will attract new customers. They’ll look forward to the times we bring UFC to New York."

N.Y. assemblyman Dean Murray was on hand to talk politics, and the process that had to happen to get MMA legalized and sanctioned in his state. He will try to sway newly sworn-in governor Andrew Cuomo to include revenue from MMA in the state budget, which will give it an easier path. He is pushing for MMA's legalization because he wants the state to find new economic streams.

"In today's climate, we don't need to be raising taxes. We need a chance to raise revenue," Murray said.

But one thing was clear throughout the press conference -- the UFC's biggest hurdle in getting MMA in the Empire State was not effective lobbying or discussions of economic impact. It's the need for education.

White emphasized the process of education several times throughout the half-hour press conference, and then a reporter on-hand showed just why education about of MMA was needed, asking, "How will you regulate martial arts when you add in kicks and punches?"

White calmly pointed out that kicks and punches are part of MMA, one of the few sports regulated by the government, and that safety is always the first concern.