New York, N.Y.– UFC® Chairman and CEO Lorenzo Fertitta and President Dana White today unveiled plans to bring at least two UFC events to New York within the first year the sport is regulated in the state, including one to be held at Madison Square Garden. Joined at a press conference at The World’s Most Famous Arena by UFC lightweight champion Frankie Edgar and Scott O’Neil, President of Madison Square Garden Sports, White expressed his desire to finally bring UFC to the Empire State.
“It’s time to bring the fastest growing sport in the world to New York and Madison Square Garden,” White said. “We already know that New York is filled with UFC fans who want to see live UFC events in their home state. With the economic benefits that UFC would bring to New York, it’s time for UFC to do Madison Square Garden.”
“We are thrilled that Dana and the UFC are so committed to New York,” O’Neil said. “UFC and its passionate fans have a home here at Madison Square Garden, and we look forward to welcoming them as soon as the sport is regulated in New York. We have no doubt that UFC would be enormously popular at The Garden and a great addition to our lineup of world class sports and entertainment events.”
In addition to announcing plans to hold two annual UFC events in New York, UFC officials released the findings of a new economic study today.
“We’ve done similar economic studies in major cities such as Boston, Las Vegas and Philadelphia and each showed the substantial positive impact hosting a UFC event has on the local economy,” Fertitta said. “This study shows that by regulating MMA, New York can reap the economic benefits statewide.”
The study found that holding two UFC events in the state (one at Madison Square Garden and one in Buffalo) will create roughly $16 million in new spending. Additionally, the study found smaller MMA operators will likely hold events that would bring an additional $4 million. In total, $23 million of annual new spending and hundreds of new jobs will be created in the local economy by regulating MMA.
Many UFC fans travel from surrounding states, stay for extended periods (at least one night at a hotel), and often arrive hours early for fights, which boosts merchandise and concession sales. New York-based MMA gyms and related industries are also expected to see an increase in revenue from the regulation of the sport. Likewise, local businesses will benefit greatly from MMA bouts, particularly outside of New York City where the economic influx is proportionally greater. This trend follows that of surrounding states which currently regulate MMA fights.
“By bringing UFC events to New York, the state will see a positive financial impact,” White said. “The arenas will get to host major UFC events and local hotels, restaurants, and other businesses will attract new customers. They’ll look forward to the times we bring UFC to New York.”
“I grew up in New Jersey, so fighting in New York City at Madison Square Garden has always been a dream,” Edgar said. “Some of the greatest sports events ever have been held at MSG and it would be an honor to fight in New York. I know the fans here are hungry for it.”
The full economic impact study is available at www.mmafacts.com/econstudy .
Legislation to allow the New York State Athletic Commission to regulate MMA was included in the Executive Budget, passed the State Senate, and passed the New York Assembly Tourism Committee and Codes Committee for the second year in a row. Currently 44 other U.S. states regulate MMA, including Pennsylvania, Massachusetts, and New Jersey, where UFC will host an event at the Prudential Center in Newark on March 19.
For more information, or current UFC fight news, visit UFC.com.