New York Governor Andrew Cuomo on Thursday morning signed the new mixed martial arts regulation bill into law, which means it officially goes into effect on September 1, 2016. With that date now set, the UFC has announced their debut event in New York City’s Madison Square Garden for November 12, 2106.
— UFC (@ufc) April 14, 2016
“I want to thank Governor Andrew Cuomo, Assembly Majority Leader Joseph Morelle, Senator Joe Griffo and the many other leaders in the state of New York for legalizing and regulating the sport of mixed martial arts,” said UFC Chairman and CEO Lorenzo Fertitta in a press release. “Our commitment to bringing incredible live events to New York starts immediately, as we’ve planned a major Pay-Per-View event at Madison Square Garden on November 12. It’s going to be a historic, monumental moment for this sport and our passionate fans when the Octagon finally arrives in New York.”
“Today marks a great day for both MMA fans and New York,” added Joel Fisher, executive vice president, Marquee Events and Operations, The Madison Square Garden Company. “We think it’s only fitting that the first UFC event is taking place at The World’s Most Famous Arena and look forward to these world-class athletes becoming part of The Garden’s storied history.
In addition to the Nov. 12 pay-per-view, the UFC will be bringing a Fight Night event to upstate New York before the end of the year as well.
Professional MMA competitions had been banned in New York state since 1997, and last month the long battle to eliminate that ban finally passed its last hurdle in the State Assembly. Though it received political pushback yet again, with numerous ignorant talking points argued by the opposition over the course of a lengthy floor debate, it passed with an overwhelming majority.
The New York State Athletic Commission will now spend the next 120 days adopting rules, regulations, and procedures to oversee the sport, and professional MMA events can then begin in the fall.
Penick’s Analysis: Don’t be surprised in the least if Bellator winds up booking a date prior to this in order to stake claim as the first event back in the state, but this has been the UFC’s targeted plan since the April date didn’t work out. Expect Ronda Rousey’s return to be targeted for this event, with Jon Jones, Chris Weidman, and any other number of fighters from the state and surrounding regions to be clamoring to get on that first event as well. It will be massive.
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