UFC’s April 23 event to move out of NY after injunction request denial, tentative Nov. date for MSG to be set

By Jamie Penick, MMATorch Editor-in-Chief

The UFC may yet run an event in New York City in 2016, but it won’t be on April 23. The organization had requested a preliminary injunction by Monday from federal court judge Kimba M. Wood to prevent New York state from stepping in to stop them from running the planned event due to what they believe is an unconstitutional law. Their lawsuit against the legality of that law banning the sport is still ongoing, and the injunction could have allowed them to run without New York oversight, but their injunction request has been denied.

In an interview with ESPN.com after the decision, UFC COO Lawrence Epstein commented on the decision, and said they’ll look to set another tentative date for later in the year.

“We are disappointed by the District Court’s denial of our motion for a preliminary injunction and its effort to redirect the litigation to the state courts,” Epstein said. “One thing – and one thing only – prevents Madison Square Garden and other New York venues from hosting UFC events that are allowed in the other 49 States in the Union. That is the New York law that we believe violates the federal Constitution.

“…The fact that we are prevented from doing an event in New York is clear evidence of irreparable harm. The timing of the event is secondary. We are now tentatively looking at a new date at Madison Square Garden in November.”

There’s still hope that 2016 is the year a bill is passed to legalize the sport in New York, as Governor Andrew Cuomo has proposed to put MMA revenue in the budget, which would effectively push legalization through without it being held up by the State Assembly yet again. As for the April event, expected to feature the rematch between Daniel Cormier and a returning Jon Jones, it will now almost assuredly have to take place elsewhere, with California expected to land what would be UFC 198.

Penick’s Analysis: It’s not surprising this didn’t pan out in their favor, but legislation is starting out much further along this year than in past years, and the votes may finally be there even if it has to go through the Assembly once again. If that can be put together, a fall event at MSG is much more likely to come together, but for now the process continues to be pushed out.

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