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

By Tristen Critchfield Mar 22, 2016
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.”


Comments powered by Disqus
<h2>Fight Finder</h2>