A few weeks ago, I wrote about how the UFC is planning on taking its product to a global market in far reaching countries such as the United Arab Emirates and Australia. The fact remains; however, that the UFC still can’t legally hold events in some of the states here in the United Sates. The biggest fight the UFC might face all year will take place outside of the octagon, and instead in Albany, NY where lobbyists and industry executives will try to persuade the Legislature to legalize the popular sport in New York State. This past week, the UFC was finally granted the approval to hold fights in Massachusetts; huge news for the company and northeastern United States MMA fans.
Massachusetts has become the 42nd state to legalize and regulate MMA, which will now fall under the Massachusetts State Athletic Commission. The bill was signed by Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick this past week. UFC president Dana White updated his Twitter confirming the good news November 30, and was especially excited because Boston was where he grew up. White and the UFC are already planning events for 2010 and looking at Fenway Park or the TD Garden Arena as possible venues.
New York fans and the UFC alike are hopeful that 2010 will be the year for MMA regulation in the state. This year, the UFC has rethought its strategy and developed a pricey study that says hosting fights in Buffalo or Manhattan would produce millions of dollars for the cities at a time when the state’s economy is staggering under the weight of its current recession. The UFC has retained an influential lobbying firm and sent out its top executives to explain the sport to New York legislators.
Personally, being from New York City, I can not wait for MMA to come to New York. A UFC event at Madison Square Garden would be a tremendous fan experience and I believe would greatly benefit the state and the UFC financially. Boxing won’t bring their top fights to New York due to greed amongst fighters. The potential of a Floyd Mayweather/Manny Pacquiao fight would be a huge draw, but will never happen in New York due to state taxes that would cut too deeply into the fighters purses. Marquee UFC fighters such as Brock Lesnar or Georges St. Pierre would never question fighting on such an important card and the sport is better because of that. In the meantime, I will continue to monitor the events and hope to have good news in the near future regarding the subject.
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