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MMA Would be Economic Boon to NY

Legalizing MMA in NY Will Generate $135 Million Annually

Economic Activity, Tourism, Jobs, Tax Revenues Across New York

NEW YORK, NY November 21, 2013 – The Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) today unveiled a new, independent report demonstrating that legalizing professional mixed martial arts (MMA) in New York will generate $135 million in economic activity annually in the state.  

“We know what UFC events do for cities around the nation and around the world.  And now we know what it’s estimated we can do in New York. Legalizing professional MMA in New York means $135 million in economic activity for the state,” said Lorenzo Fertitta, UFC Chairman & CEO. “And I’m convinced that UFC events will outperform these estimates and that we will set gate and attendance records in arenas around the state.

“We know that fans of MMA – like fans of baseball, football, basketball, hockey, soccer – travel to see their favorite athletes.  We not only want to help our New York fans see us closer to home, we also want to help bring MMA fans from other places to New York City, Long Island, and throughout upstate – Buffalo, Rochester, Syracuse, Utica, Albany, just to name a few,” Fertitta said.

According to the report, “Economic Impact of Mixed Martial Arts in New York,” prepared by HR&A Advisors, Inc., the $135 million would be nearly equally attained by MMA events – including at least three upstate and two downstate UFC events, plus dozens of events by other promoters – and the growth in MMA training centers. Nearly $6 million in state and local tax revenues would also be realized.

“We hear elected officials across New York advocating for economic development and jobs.  Well, we’re ready to provide some of that economic development and tourism that leads to jobs in New York,” said Lawrence Epstein, COO of UFC. “But we need New York’s elected officials to say ‘yes’ to legalizing and regulating professional MMA here.  Because we are also hearing from elected officials in scores of other states and dozens of other countries, asking us to bring the fastest growing sport in the world to their communities.”

New York is the only state in the United States where professional MMA is illegal. Amateur MMA – albeit unregulated – is legal in New York.  It has passed the Senate for four years but has not been considered by the Assembly.

“At Madison Square Garden we are always looking to offer the biggest and best events for our fans,” said Dave Howard, president, MSG Sports. “Mixed Martial Arts has become enormously popular, and if and when the sport becomes sanctioned in New York we look forward to hosting events at The Garden for the passionate UFC fans.”

“After I won the UFC middleweight championship in July, I returned home to Baldwin to a hero’s welcome,” said Chris Weidman.  “Nassau County – where I’ve lived my whole life and where I still live and train – honored me when County Executive Ed Mangano officially declared July 17th Chris Weidman day in Nassau County.  Yet, I can’t earn a living in my home state. My neighbors, friends, fans, cannot see me defend my title in the Nassau Coliseum or here at Madison Square Garden, home to some of the most classic boxing matches of all time.  That’s just wrong and it’s time for New Yorkers to demand their elected officials change it and change it now.”

“I cannot think of one remotely good reason New York hasn’t joined 49 other states and every Canadian province in bringing the live version of the sport to the millions of MMA fans in New York.  But now I can think of at least 135 million really good reasons for New York to finally legalize and regulate professional MMA,” Fertitta said.

Quotes from New York State Legislators

Senate Republican Leader Dean Skelos (R-Nassau County)
“New York needs to capitalize on opportunities that will continue to strengthen our economy and spur job growth.  The Senate has voted to legalize professional MMA four times with bipartisan support, because it would boost New York’s economy, help create jobs and bring our state in line with every other state.  I commend Senator Griffo for his leadership on this issue.”

Senator Joseph Griffo (R-Utica)
“I urge the Assembly to join with the Senate and finally pass this common sense bill to bring professional MMA to arenas across New York.  Whether it’s UFC or any of the other national, regional or local promoters, professional MMA will help solidify New York’s reputation as the sports capital of the world.  MMA in New York will bring fans to arenas, tourists and their money to communities across the state, tax revenues to the state and local governments, and help support new jobs.”

Senator Jose Peralta Griffo (R-Utica)
“New York is the last state in the nation to take advantage of this sports tourism opportunity.  It’s time to stop disappointing New York fans, New York workers, and New York businesses that would benefit from legalizing professional mixed martial arts.”

Assembly Majority Leader Joe Morelle (D-Monroe County)
“I am hopeful that 2014 is the year that we legalize and regulate MMA in New York.  I, and many of my colleagues on both sides of the aisle, recognize the tremendous economic impact this increasingly popular sport can bring to New York, and especially to cities upstate.  I’ve seen the excitement that MMA events generate and I would love to bring some of those MMA fans to New York to see events here and to spend their money here.”

Assemblyman Francisco Moya (D-Queens)
“By not taking advantage of the economic opportunities that legalizing mixed martial arts (MMA) would bring to the State of New York, we are causing a great injustice to New Yorkers.  The economic benefits that professional MMA will provide to our economy would be foolish to pass up.   New Yorkers need money in their pockets. Businesses want to flourish. We need professional, regulated MMA to be legalized this year.”

Assemblywoman Aravella Simotas (D-Queens)
“The $135 million in annual revenue generated by legalizing MMA is essential to New York’s continued economic recovery. The positive impact will likewise be enjoyed by the many small business owners who stand to benefit from increased tourism and job creation across the state. This is why I have co-sponsored a bill with 60 of my colleagues to make professional MMA and its much-needed boost to New York’s economy a reality.”

Assemblyman Keith Wright (D-Manhattan)
“Legalizing MMA in New York is the right thing to do.  I will be working with Majority Leader Morelle and others to educate our colleagues about the importance of the sport and the tremendous economic impact it could have for our state.  MMA presents a great opportunity to create thousands of jobs add approximately $135 million in revenue by virtue of legalization.”