Shortly after the bill to legalize MMA in New York was passed, UFC CEO Lorenzo Fertitta immediately drew up the promotion’s plans for the Empire State.
During a media conference call on Tuesday, Fertitta said that the UFC isn’t only targeting two events in New York for 2016, but they’re planning on a “massive and epic” debut there, most probably in the legendary Madison Square Garden:
“I think it’s going to be an epic moment for the sport and for our 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 we eventually debut at Madison Square Garden, me and Dana (White) and the rest of the team are going to be very focused on delivering for the fans. We’re going to put together the best available matches that we can. You’d 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 going to be massive and when you do massive events it takes time, it takes runway, it’s going to be a tremendous amount of promotion, a ton of marketing assets, we’re going to have to book the fights that make sense for there, it’s going to be big.”
Fights that make sense in New York would likely involve Rochester native Jon Jones, who is the promotion’s most well-known New York product. Jones is set to fight Daniel Cormier at UFC 197 next month. Another potential fighter on the MSG debut is Long Island’s Chris Weidman, who like Jones is looking to regain his title against Luke Rockhold at UFC 199, slated for June 2016. If Jones and Weidman win their next bouts, then we’ll probably have the main event and co-main event for the Garden debut sealed.
But before we salivate on those potential bouts, first things have to be first. Governor Andrew Cuomo must sign the bill first, after which the State Athletic Commission is given 120 days to finalize the rules and regulations. We all can’t wait.
— Dana White (@danawhite) March 22, 2016
As Bruce Buffer says, let’s get it on!!!