UFC in NYC: Light at the end of the tunnel

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New York remains one of only a few States in America which still has a ban on MMA. While this is still the case the UFC took a major step towards holding a show in the Big Apple at a court hearing earlier on today. Journalist Jim Genia, of http://www.fightline.com, was present at the hearing and made this report after the days events:

“In what was supposed to be a day of oral arguments pertaining to the State Attorney General’s most recent motion to dismiss, attorney John M. Schwartz – representing the Attorney General’s office – acknowledged unequivocally that the law prohibiting pro MMA did not apply to amateur versions of the sport, and that as per the statute, a pre-approved third-party sanctioning body could oversee MMA events in the state. The admission of the latter prompted the counsel representing Zuffa’s interests to say that if that were truly the case, then there’d be no further need to pursue the lawsuit – which in turn prompted the presiding Judge Kimba Wood of the U.S District Court of the Southern District of New York to push both sides to immediately settle…

…Notwithstanding whether a settlement is reached, the door is now open for Zuffa – or any other MMA promotion – to circumvent the ban by utilizing one of the pre-approved sanctioning bodies enumerated in the statute. Those sanctioning bodies include the World Karate Association (since renamed the World Kickboxing Association, a.k.a. the “WKA”), the Professional Karate Association and the U.S. Judo Association, among others.”

It is important to note here however that the UFC will not simply go and book MSG for a show tomorrow, they have stated that they still want to pursue the lifting of the ban on Mixed Martial Arts before organising a show and hope to know within the next couple of months whether this will happen or not. UFC’s in-house counsel, Timothy Bellamy had this to say:

“We’ll take it…..We’d rather have the state lift the ban and we go that route first, but we’ll know in the next two months if that’s going to happen.” He then stated that if the ban was not lifted then the UFC would go down the third party sanctioning road.

The UFC has been in a battle to get sanctioned in New York for a number of years. An ongoing dispute between the Fertitta’s and the Las Vegas Culinary Union has not helped matters as anyone following the case will know. It would appear that this storied saga is now drawing to a close however and with the UFC due to celebrate it’s 20th Anniversay in November it could not be happening at a better time. The smart money is now on the UFC making their first appearance at Madison Square Garden with an event to mark that milestone occasion.

I don’t know about you but I for one will be looking out the passport and starting to save the pennies immediately for this one.

We will be sure to pass along any further updates on this as and when they are announced.

Ross Stevenson

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