Major New York State Arenas Urge State Assembly
to Finally Join State Senate and Pass Bill
Legalizing and Regulating MMA in New York
UFC® and arenas renew promise to bring professional MMA to
cities across New York from Buffalo to the New York City area
Albany – The UFC® organization, in partnership with arenas across New York State, renewed its pledge to hold UFC events throughout Upstate and Downstate New York in the coming years if professional mixed martial arts (MMA) is legalized and regulated in New York. New York is the last place in North America where professional MMA is illegal. Amateur MMA is legal, although unregulated, in New York.
Lorenzo Fertitta, UFC Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, said, “New York is fortunate to have so many storied arenas and we want to bring the most exciting sport on the planet to as many of those venues as possible. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, UFC is committed to bringing some of the best and biggest events we’ve ever held to New York State if they legalize and regulate professional MMA.
Just this week, UFC executives and former middleweight champion Chris Weidman held events with state legislators, supporters and fans to urge passage of legislation legalizing and regulating MMA in New York early in 2016. As part of the tour, events were held at the Oncenter in Syracuse and the Blue Cross Arena in Rochester.
“Over the next three years – assuming the bill passes this year – UFC will hold at least four events per year in New York, with at least two Upstate events every year,” Fertitta said. “Of course we look forward to holding events at the world’s most famous arena, Madison Square Garden, and at Brooklyn’s state-of-the-art Barclays Center. However, we are equally as excited to host events in Buffalo, Rochester, Syracuse, Utica, and Albany.”
Joel Fisher, executive vice president, sports properties for The Madison Square Garden Company, said: “Over the last century, virtually every great fighter has had the opportunity to compete at Madison Square Garden. Our hope for 2016 is that we can provide that same opportunity to some of the best athletes of this generation – Weidman, Rockhold, Holm, Jones, Rousey, McGregor, Aldo, Lawler, and so many others – and give New York MMA fans the chance to enjoy the UFC experience inside The World’s Most Famous Arena.”
Brett Yormark, Brooklyn Sports & Entertainment CEO, said, “More than anything else, fans are telling us they want MMA and it’s time to deliver. We would be thrilled to host UFC at Barclays Center, and soon, the new Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum. Not only does UFC further our goal of being in the big event business, it helps drive economic activity in the area.”
Bob Belber, SMG Regional General Manager, Times Union Center, said, “Albany’s Times Union Center could not be more excited about hosting professional MMA events. It’s not often we get the chance to pack the arena with 17,000 fans; UFC provides that chance. We urge the Assembly to finally pass the bill and allow the Capital District to benefit from filled hotel rooms, busy restaurants, bars and shops and the influx of Canadian and other tourists to the region.”
Robert Esche, President of Mohawk Valley Garden Corporation (Utica Memorial Auditorium), said, “Tourism is one of the key economic drivers for our region, and being able to hold professional MMA events at the Utica Memorial Auditorium will bring tourists to the Mohawk Valley while simultaneously growing our local economy through maximizing the potential of our sporting and entertainment industries.”
Kelly Carr, General Manager for the Oncenter in Syracuse, said, “Fans are excited, as are we, at the prospect of bringing UFC to Upstate New York here at the Oncenter. The popularity of MMA events can create economic activity and opportunity for our Convention District and community. We sincerely hope that the Legislature will vote in favor of the bill to legalize this sport.”
Jeff Calkins, General Manager of the Blue Cross Arena, said, “We can’t wait to show off all that Rochester and Monroe County have to offer when the UFC finally comes to the Blue Cross Arena. Between our local fans and those that will travel here, it will be a boon for local restaurants, hotels and businesses. We urge New York legislators to finally bring our state in line with the other 49 states.”
Jennifer Van Rysdam, VP Arena Events, First Niagara Center, said, “Buffalo is excited at the opportunity to host the UFC, as well as other professional MMA events. We have excited MMA fans across Western New York and we know that Canadian fans will pour into Buffalo to see UFC and MMA events at the First Niagara Center. We hope that 2016 is the year it becomes reality.”
“Just as New York has some of the best arenas, New York also has some of the best, most knowledgeable and most intense MMA fans in the world. They want us in New York. The arenas want us in New York. Our athletes want to perform in New York. We are ready for New York. All we need is for the legislators to finally say yes,” Fertitta said.
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UFC® is a premium global sports brand and the largest pay-per-view event provider in the world. Headquartered in Las Vegas with offices in London, Toronto, Sao Paulo and Singapore, UFC produces more than 40 live events annually that consistently sell out some of the most prestigious arenas around the globe. UFC programming is broadcast in over 150 countries and territories to more than one billion TV households worldwide in 21 different languages. UFC FIGHT PASS®, a digital subscription service, delivers exclusive live events, thousands of fights on-demand and original content to fans around the world. For more information, visit UFC.com and follow at Facebook.com/UFC, Twitter and Instagram: @UFC.