It's official, the UFC is coming to the Big Apple!
Last month, New York passed a bill that would finally lift the ban on MMA fighting in the state. All it needed was Governor Andrew Cuomo's signature to make it official. In ceremony at the legendary Madison Square Garden, with Ronda Rousey, Chris Weidman, and Lorenzo Fertitta in attendance, Cuomo officially signed the bill into law.
During the ceremony, Fetitta took the opportunity to announce the UFC's first New York event. UFC 205 is set to take place at Madison Square Garden on November 12, marking the 23rd anniversary of UFC 1. It will be the first UFC event in the state since 1995.
No fights have been announced yet, but it's sure to be a massive event, as well as a hefty pay-per-view card. The UFC has spent nearly a decade trying to lift the ban which was instated for reasons that might not seem as obvious.
In a 2015 Newsweek interview, UFC President Dana White explained how all of this got started.
It has nothing to do with mixed martial arts... It has to do with the Culinary Union. The Culinary Union is spending millions of dollars of all these people who pay dues to keep us out of there because my partners, the Fertitta brothers, are the largest non-union gaming company in the country. …
People work in the Culinary Union pay their money towards dues, this is what all their money's being spent towards. Fighting the UFC from coming there and bringing money into the state of New York.
The road to lifting the ban wasn't an easy one. There were several levels the bill had to pass, including the committee for Tourism, Arts, Parks and Sports Development, the Ways and Means Committee, the Codes Committee and, finally, the Assembly floor.
On the Assembly floor, things got, well interesting to say the least. Several assemblymen took shots at the sport comparing it to slavery, likening it to "gay porn," and even went as far as to claim that sex offenders would take advantage of having the sport in the state.
Needless to say, those claims didn't go far. Eventually the assembly passed the bill, leaving it only needing the Governor's John Hancock. Now that it's official, we can look forward to MMA fights in the great state of New York.