Is this real life? After years of corrupt politicking to keep mixed martial arts banned in New York, the world’s largest media market finally legalized the sport in last month’s Assembly vote. On Thursday, MMA legalization in New York was made official when Governor Andrew Cuomo put pen to paper and signed the bill.
UFC CEO Lorenzo Fertitta, former middleweight champion and New Yorker Chris Weidman and former bantamweight champ Ronda Rousey stood over Cuomo as he inked the monumental document.
Following of official passing of MMA in NY, the UFC wasted no time in announcing their debut at the historic Madison Square Garden. The show will go down November 12.
While no bouts were reported, it is believed Weidman, who has been a large presence in New York on behalf of the UFC during this entire process, will be on the card. In addition, Rousey is expected to return to action this winter and there’s no bigger place to do it than in The Big Apple.
“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 Fertitta. “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.”
Fertitta has promised to host four events each year for the first three years after passage of the bill. The shows will be held in Upstate cities such as Buffalo, Rochester, Syracuse, Utica, and Albany, in addition to Madison Square Garden and the Barclays Center.
The UFC confirmed they intend to add another show in Upstate New York before year’s end.