UFC New York Debut: Madison Square Garden Gets a New Crowd
The Ultimate Fighting Championship will make it’s UFC New York debut on Nov. 12 at Madison Square Garden, a UFC executive announced Thursday. The announcement came a couple weeks after Gov. Andrew Cuomo signed a bill legalizing pro-MMA fights in New York State.
The UFC will also sponsor a fight at a venue in Upstate New York before the end of the year, announced Lorenzo Fertitta, UFC Chairman and CEO. This fight will be held after the UFC New York debut.
Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced Thursday morning, at a news conference held at Madison Square Garden, that he was signing the bill to make New York the last state in the country to legalize professional MMA fights. The law will be in effect on September 1st, at which point we the likes of the UFC, Bellator, World Series of Fighting, Ring of Combat, and other promotions will be cleared to stage events in the final state to formally legalize the sport in the USA.
MMA stars Ronda Rousey and Chris Weidman, who lobbied state lawmakers to pass the bill, were among those to attend the news conference.”We thank you for your patience,” Cuomo said to Rousey and Weidman.”They would ask me what they would need to do to get it (the bill) through the Legislature. I said I had no idea,” the governor said. He jokingly said that some of the same tactics found in MMA fights are often used in the Legislature.
What Economic Impact can the UFC New York Debut Bring?
UFC events in New York State are expected to generate $32 million in economic activity each year, including capturing revenue and attendance from nearby out-of-state venues. An average of 66 other non-UFC MMA events is anticipated annually, generating $29 million in economic impact. An expansion of UFC gyms across the state is also anticipated to generate $76 million in economic impact, Cuomo’s office said.
UFC will be adding another live event in Upstate New York before the end of the year. The organization has pledged four events per year for the first three years after passage of the bill. The events will be held in Upstate cities such as Buffalo, Rochester, Syracuse, Utica, and Albany, in addition to Madison Square Garden and the Barclays Center.
What Could Happen on the UFC New York Debut Card?
You can expect to see UFC middleweight Chris Weidman on the card and possibly a title fight between Jon Jones and Daniel Cormier. November is also the month Ronda Rousey is rumored to return. A Rousey led pay-per-view in November would probably be just the kind of event the UFC has in mind for the first card at Madison Square Garden.
No matter what happens between McGregor and Nate Diaz at UFC 200 in July, McGregor will be the featherweight champion. Four months in-between fights has not been too much to ask of him in the past and Edgar has more than earned this title shot. New York, especially Queens, has a huge Irish-American population and Boston and Philadelphia, both a car ride away, have the largest percentages of Irish Americans in the United States. McGregor would be massive at MSG.