UFC Closer To Staging New York MMA Event With Possible Third-Party Sanction
UFC parent company Zuffa “scored a big win" in their lawsuit against the state of New York yesterday, "paving the way for the organization to legally hold a UFC event in the state almost immediately and regardless of whether or not the ban on professional mixed martial arts is lifted by the legislature,” according to Jim Genia of FIGHTLINE.com. 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 ... to push both sides to immediately settle.” Whether or not a “settlement is reached, the door is now open for Zuffa -- or any other MMA promotion -- to circumvent the ban by utilizing one of the pre-approved sanctioning bodies enumerated in the statute.” Zuffa and UFC Senior VP & Associate General Counsel Timothy Bellamy said, “We’ll take it. 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." Bellamy added that “if it doesn't, then the UFC would use the third-party-sanctioning option” (FIGHTLINE.com, 2/13).
FAR FROM PERFECT: In N.Y., Marc Raimondi noted most MMA shows in the U.S. are “under the watch of state athletic commissions," while the UFC has “had to be its own commission in other countries that don’t have regulating bodies.” An organization other than the New York State Athletic Commission “would have to sanction” a UFC fight in New York. Raimondi wrote, “Not ideal, of course. But progress, for sure.” UFC President Dana White has said that the company “wants to bring a massive show to Madison Square Garden in November for its 20th anniversary” (NYPOST.com, 2/13).