Dana White speaks at a press conference for UFC 70: Nations Collide. Photo property of the Ultimate Fighting Championship.
Dana White has always said that he’s going to bring the Ultimate Fighting Championship to New York at some point. He took step one today.
While the organization has yet to make an official announcement, the New York Times has gathered information on a campaign the UFC has started to potentially legalize the sport of mixed martial arts in the state.
MMAFacts.com, a website devoted to showing New York lawmakers that the sport has completely transformed itself from a spectacle that was banned just about everywhere in the mid-1990’s to a full-fledged legitimate sport with the potential for serious monetary gain for the state, was made live by the organization this morning.
According to UFC vice president Marc Ratner, who previously served as chairman of the Nevada State Athletic Commission before joining the organization in 2006, Zuffa’s sole focus these days in terms of pushing for the legalization of the sport in various states will now be on New York.
“The timing for all of this is right,” Ratner said in the article. “We had a lot of other states we were working on and we wanted to devote our full attention to New York, and that’s what we’re doing now.”
Ratner also mentioned that he is in the process of working with lawmakers to create a bill in hopes of having the governor’s office pass it.
“We’re working on that as we speak, and that should hopefully be forthcoming, but it’s not quite ready yet,” Ratner said. “We’ll have people on both sides of the aisle. We’re very bullish on coming to New York.”
The UFC recently successfully lobbied to have the state of Tennessee consider to lift their current ban on the sport. The state is expected to pass legislation later this year.
On a side note, ESPN has been mentioning the story all day as well. I’ll make an update later on with more media reaction.