A UFC event in Madison Square Garden has long been a dream of promotion boss Dana White, but now that idea might be closer to becoming reality than ever before.
According to a report written by Jim Genia on Fightline.com, Zuffa scored a major victory in its lawsuit against New York on Wednesday, potentially clearing the way for the Las Vegas-based organization to hold an event in the state before 2013 draws to a close:
In what was supposed to be a day of oral arguments pertaining to the State Attorney General's most recent motion to dismiss, attorney John M. Schwartz – representing the Attorney General's office – acknowledged unequivocally that the law prohibiting pro MMA did not apply to amateur versions of the sport, and that as per the statute, a pre-approved third-party sanctioning body could oversee MMA events in the state. The admission of the latter prompted the counsel representing Zuffa's interests to say that if that were truly the case, then there'd be no further need to pursue the lawsuit – which in turn prompted the presiding Judge Kimba Wood of the U.S District Court of the Southern District of New York to push both sides to immediately settle.
That means the Octagon could touch down in the Big Apple if the promotion chooses to utilize a third-party sanctioning body such as the World Kickboxing Association, the Professional Karate Association or the U.S. Judo Association, according to Fightline.com. The UFC serves as its own regulatory body in places like Brazil, which does not have an athletic commission. It may not be ideal, but by enlisting a pre-approved sanctioning body to oversee an event, the UFC would take the New York State Athletic Commission out of the picture entirely thanks to the 1997 statute banning professional MMA in the state.
"We'll take it," UFC in-house counsel Timothy Bellamy told Fightline.com. "We'd rather have the state lift the ban and we go that route first, but we'll know in the next two months if that's going to happen."