Along with UFC lightweight champion Frankie Edgar and Scott O’Neill, president of MSG, Dana White and Lorenzo Fertitta held a press conference today at Madison Square Garden in Manhattan to announce the UFC’s intent to bring two events per year to New York once mixed martial mixed arts is finally legalized in the state. After years of failing to get a MMA bill passed in the state, Dana White proclaimed that now is the time to bring MMA to New York.

“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.”

As they’ve done in other states they’ve sought regulation, they presented an economic study to show the kind of impact legalizing MMA could make on the New York economy.

“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.”

“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.”

Summary of the findings:

  • MMA events would generate $23 million annually
  • MMA events would create est. 212 new jobs
  • UFC would generate $16 million annually between two events at Madison Square Garden and the HSBC Arena in Buffalo
  • UFC events would create est. 138 new jobs
  • Events would drive $1.4 million in visitor spending in NYC
  • Events would drive $1.4 million in visitor spending in Buffalo
  • 70 MMA events expected for New York state

New York state assemblyman Dean Murray also attended the press conference to offer his support. He seems as excited about bringing MMA to NY as the UFC is.

“The fact of the matter is this is another example of New York being a ‘nanny’ state,” Assemblyman Murray stated. “We have to stop doing that. We have to give the choice. How many cable TV stations do you have? How many radio stations do you have? You have choices. By us not legalizing this it’s removing that option of all these literally millions of fans in New York State having the option to see their hometown heroes fight.”

“In this economic climate, we don’t need more tax increases, we need a chance to raise revenue. This is a wonderful chance,” he added.

“I’ve actually contacted the Governor’s office and asked him to include this in the Governor’s budget this year. So we’re going to wait and see if it is included in the budget. If it’s not, I’m hoping that we’ll bring it to the floor for a vote,” Murray commented.

“If it’s in the budget, it has a much better shot of staying in the budget.”

The UFC aren’t the only ones fighting for NY MMA regulation. The Coalition to Legalize Mixed Martial Arts in New York is holding a rally at City Hall in NYC on Feb. 8.

“If you are a fan, fighter, gym owner, business owner, or organization official who wants to start the 2011 New York State legislative calendar by letting our government know we want legalized and regulated mixed martial arts in New York State, please come show your support! Let’s gather together to show our legislators that New York State is not respecting the wishes of its voters! Let’s remind our legislators that mixed martial arts is a professional sport and in need of regulation! Let’s remind our legislators how much business our state loses and how many jobs are lost to neighboring states where mixed martial arts is properly sanctioned! Let’s remind our legislators that we care about the safety of our athletes! Let’s remind our legislators that it is the people of New York State who vote for them, and that WE WANT LEGALIZED AND REGULATED MIXED MARTIAL ARTS IN NEW YORK STATE!”

-Stephen Koepfer of the Coalition to Legalize Mixed Martial Arts in New York.