UFC pledges to hold at least four events per year in New York in first three years of MMA legalization

USA TODAY Sports
The Ultimate Fighting Championship continues to dedicate itself to New York, despite getting the cold shoulder from the Empire State.

With the chances of MMA legalization in New York in 2013 looking dimmer with each passing day, UFC CEO Lorenzo Fertitta stated on Tuesday that the promotion would hold at least four events per year in the first three years MMA is legal and regulated once again in New York.

"If UFC hosted events in Buffalo’s First Niagara Center, Syracuse’s Carrier Dome, Albany’s Times Union Center, and either of New York City’s premiere venues, we would sell more than 85,000 tickets, generating more than $12 million in tickets sales and more than $1 million – just from those ticket sales – in direct state revenue," Fertitta stated in a press release.

"That does not begin to count the state and local sales tax revenue from concession and merchandise sales at the arenas, parking, hotel rooms, restaurants, and other expenditures by UFC fans. It also does not count the income tax revenue from the union workers who will be employed at those venues," Fertitta said. "And that’s just UFC. We know there will be scores more professional MMA events held across the state by other national, regional and local MMA promoters."

Historically, the UFC hasn't held more than two shows in the same state in a calendar year outside its home base of Nevada.

The state Senate has passed legislation to legalize MMA four times, including this year, however, the bill has never been brought up for a vote in the Assembly. The bill must also pass in the Assembly for it to go into effect. According to the New York Daily News, 63 of the 150 Assembly members have signed in favor of the bill so far.

The same report also states that Zuffa, the parent company of the UFC, has spent $1.6 million dollars since 2007 in lobbying and campaign contributions to help get the sport legalized in the state for the first time since 1997.

On Saturday, the UFC held an event in Newark, N.J., headlined by Jon Jones, a New York-native. The card drew 15,227 fans and a gate of $2.7 million.

After proclaiming late last year that the promotion had reserved a November date at Madison Square Garden in New York for the UFC's 20th anniversary show, UFC president Dana White seemed much less optimistic last week when discussing the possibility of holding a show in Manhattan this year.

"It's not even that I'm pessimistic," White said. "I just don't care anymore."

"I'm just over it."

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