On November 21st, the UFC held a press conference at the Madison Square Garden in Manhattan to address the subject of the illegality of mixed martial arts in New York. In attendance were many members of the New York State Assembly and Senate, UFC Middleweight Champion Chris Weidman, as well as UFC Chairman and CEO Lorenzo Fertitta.
According to a study done by HR&A, if MMA was legalized in New York, it could potentially generate $135 million annually, with $34 million of that coming just from the UFC, and the rest coming from other MMA organizations and training gyms.
Following the press conference, Fertitta shared his thoughts with MMAMania.com about the subject.
“That is the democratic process that we actually believe in and support,” Fertitta said. “It just hasn’t made its way through yet.”
Although the UFC CEO seemed frustrated with New York’s prohibition on MMA, he did add that it doesn’t cause him to lose much sleep at night. After all, the UFC is a prosperous company, and it can still hold events in every other city in America.
“It really doesn’t weigh on me very much,” he said referring to the state’s ban on MMA. “At the end of the day we are going to continue to be a very successful company. We do events — not only do events in major cities around the world — major cities around the world beg us to do the events.”
He does make a good point, MMA will continue to grow with or without New York. But there’s still something special about being able to hold an event of the fastest growing sport on the planet in the cultural capital city of the world.
“We will continue to grow without New York, but it would be great to have it,” he added.
Even though MMA supporters made great arguments at the conference to lift the ban on the sport, it still seems unlikely that New York will legalize MMA anytime soon.