Following a near 20-year battle the New York Assembly has finally lifted the ban on Mixed Martial Arts within the state, and in response the UFC has put together the biggest event in the history of the sport, featuring three title matches, including of course The Notorious Conor McGregor.
The NY Assembly voted 113-25 in favour of reinstating it in April of this year, and the lifting of the ban means New York now joins the other 49 states that already allow and regulate the sport.
It really has been a long fight to finally see MMA take place in New York after former governor George Pataki first banned the sport in 1997. There was one event prior to ban – that took place in Buffalo in 1995, but this forthcoming event will mark the companies debut in the Big Apple itself.
At the time it was originally banned, MMA was still a largely unregulated sport with few rules to govern the athletes dishing out punishment inside the cage. State athletic commissions in New Jersey and eventually Nevada helped adopt a new rule set that became the standard for MMA and slowly but surely the sport became legal across the United States.
Still, New York was the lone holdout, with the vote to legalise MMA passing in the State Senate each of the past seven years but ultimately fizzling out before being voted on by the Assembly……although someone people would argue this was due to people in power within NYC having ulterior motives.
So when it became clear the UFC could press ahead with an event the first decision was the venue, and when you are talking about iconic venues in New York City then there could only be one place that an event could be held – Madison Square Garden. ‘The Garden’ as it’s affectional known has played host to a whole host of entertainment and sporting events.
The event will be a landmark event for the UFC’s new owners WME-IMG. The American based company paid $4 billion for the company back in July this year in what was and is the biggest acquisition in sports history.
UFC 200 which happened just days after the purchase turned out to be a financial success, with record gate receipts, but only received mixed reviews, for the actual product, with several high profile fights that seemed to limp to a conclusion in one-sided bouts, and was held under a dark cloud as the main event fighter Jon Jones was pulled from the card by USADA due to a potential Anti-Doping Policy violation stemming from an out-of-competition sample just 3 days before the event, and following the event a similar failed drugs test by co-main eventer Brock Lesnar who was paid a whopping £2.5 million for his appearance.
So with UFC 200 now a distant memory the UFC has thrown everything at this upcoming landmark event with a hugely stacked card for November 12th (it will actually be the early hours of November 13th over here in the UK).
And when you have the biggest card of all time you call for the biggest star in the sport……and that is Conor McGregor. The current UFC Featherweight Champion will again step up in weight class, as for the only the second time in history a current Champion will fight for the title at a different weight class. The Irishman will take on current and recently crowned Lightweight Champion Eddie Alvarez.
It doesn’t stop there though. There’s also 2 other title matches announced for this event.
Firstly the Welterweight Title on the line, as Tyron ‘The Chosen One’ Woodley attempts to defend his title for the first against Stephen ‘Wonderboy’ Thompson. And then there’s the Women’s Strawweight Title on the line as the Champ Joanna Jedrzejczyk battles fellow Polish fighter Karolina Kowalkiewicz.
The event also features 4 former Champions to in the form of Rashad Evans, Frankie Edgar, Miesha Tate, and New York native Chris Weidman.
For more information about this event which will be shown on BT Sport please head on over to uk.ufc.com