The UFC isn’t the only organization that will benefit from MMA’s legalization in the state of New York, and to that end Bellator MMA released a statement from President Scott Coker in reaction to Tuesday’s bill finally passing the New York State Assembly.
“The New York Assembly’s vote to legalize MMA is a watershed moment for this incredible sport,” Coker said. “As someone who has been promoting combat sports for more than 30 years, this is a very exciting time for mixed martial arts. We at Bellator MMA are very much looking forward to hosting an event in the ‘Crown Jewel of America,’ New York. Two Bellator champions, Liam McGeary and Marcos Galvao call New York home and I know it means a great deal to the both of them, as it does for the entire promotion. We’ve already been in contact with the great people at the Barclays Center and several other incredible venues, and we can’t wait bring our world-class athletes and action-packed shows to an arena in the Empire State soon.”
Penick’s Analysis: Don’t be surprised if Bellator winds up staging the first MMA event in the state once it’s legalized. The UFC has a date in mind for their big Madison Square Garden debut, likely to feature Ronda Rousey’s return in November, and if there’s time between that the law going into effect and that date, Bellator will have an opening. They won’t be running MSG themselves at all, but if they can get to another location – and Coker specifically mentioned the Barclays Center here – they can tout themselves as the first. We’ll likely see them push for that, but it’s all still got to get to the governor and set up through the athletic commission as well.
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Jones vs. Johnson or vs. HW champion
Edgar vs. McGregor (unless it happens at 200 after all)
Ronda vs. WBW champ
Weidman vs. Belfort
Iaquinta vs. Melendez
Sterling vs. Jimmie Rivera
Take two of those top three title fights, add the bottom three, and you’ve got a stupendous card there. And yes, I am of course presupposing that Jones retires Cormier in April.