Fertitta: UFC Hopeful for 2 New York Events in 2016, Including ‘Massive’ Card at MSG – Sherdog.com

Now that
mixed martial arts is legal in New York
, the
UFC
is already working toward holding its first couple events
in the state in 2016.

Before the Las Vegas-based promotion can go forward, Gov. Andrew
Cuomo must sign the bill and then the New York State Athletic
Commission will have 120 days to adopt rules and regulations as the
state’s sanctioning body. Although the UFC will have to play
something of a waiting game, CEO Lorenzo Fertitta said that the
organization is already looking at venues and locations for its
first New York events.

“The minute that the vote passed, our team started calling various
arenas and looking at what dates were available,” Fertitta said
during a conference call on Tuesday. “We don’t want to put the cart
before the horse… We’re hopeful that we’ll be able to get in at
least two before the end of the year.”

While Fertitta could not confirm that Madison Square Garden would
be the site for the promotion’s first event in the Empire State, he
did say that the UFC’s first major card would likely take place at
the renowned venue. It was initially rumored that the UFC had
reserved a date at MSG for November, but Fertitta said that nothing
is concrete at the moment.

“It’s gonna have to work with the schedule of the arenas. When you
talk about the two arenas in New York, Madison Square Garden and
Barclays [Center], they are very busy arenas. Hopefully the stars
will align and we’ll be able to get that done,” Fertitta said.
“We’re already talking to arenas in Buffalo, Syracuse, Rochester,
Utica. We’re confident that we’ll be able to get dates that
work.”

According to Fertitta, when the UFC is able to put its full focus
on the MSG card, the results will be spectacular.

“I think it’s gonna be an epic moment for the sport and for the
company. Obviously right now all of our focus is on trying to put
together the matches for UFC 200, but
when we go to New York and eventually debut at Madison Square
Garden, [UFC President Dana White] and the rest of the team are
going to be very focused on delivering for the fans,” he said.
“We’re going to put together the best available matches that we
can. You’ll have the biggest names that we can possibly put on, the
biggest names that are available at the time. Believe me, we want
to knock it out of the park and we want to deliver to New York in a
big way.

“It’s gonna be massive. When you do massive events it takes runway,
it’s going to be a tremendous amount of promotion, a ton of
marketing assets,” Fertitta continued. “We’re going to have to book
the fights that make sense for there. It’s gonna be big, but I
think fourth quarter is a realistic for us.”

Expectations aren’t just high for Madison Square Garden, however.
Fertitta plans on setting records wherever the Octagon touches down
in New York.

“New York is the biggest market for us already from a pay-per-view
standpoint in the United States, the most important media market in
the United States,” he said. “We have high expectations when we do
events at Madison Square Garden or the arenas in upstate New York.
We’re looking to break the gate records in each arena that we go to
and that includes Madison Square Garden when we eventually get
there, hopefully by the fourth quarter of this year.

“We think it’s gonna be great for the fighters, great for the
industry. It’s not just UFC, but I think you’re gonna see other
promoters such as Bellator,
which is owned by Viacom, doing events. You also have mid-sized
promoters as well as smaller promoters, and I think it will be a a
lot of economic activity that will happen within the state that
will be a big contribution to the state. I think it’s gonna be a
big deal.”

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