Senator Joseph A. Griffo (R-IP-C, Rome) today called upon Governor David Paterson and legislative leaders to fast track legalizing Mixed Martial Arts (MMA) competitions in New York State.
“I am glad to see the Governor taking a position that I have held for two years now – that bringing Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) events to New York State will have a tremendously positive impact on our economy through the jobs that can be created and the spending that will stimulate the economy,” Griffo said. “Instead of just talking about this idea, we need to bring it to a vote and pass this Legislation now, so that we can start holding events in New York this year.”
“In recent years, mixed martial arts has evolved from its beginnings into a more reformed, organized and regulated sport worthy of our review for sanctioning consideration in New York State,” Griffo said. “In the last fifteen years, it has grown into an international phenomenon. Its long past time to look into officially sanctioning this sport in New York. More than two-thirds of the states allow mixed martial arts matches. There are significant tourist and tax revenue dollars flowing to neighboring states who are hosting these events. I want that revenue coming here.”
One of the fastest growing sports in America, MMA is regulated in 36 states including New Jersey, Pennsylvania, California and Florida. UFC is the most heavily regulated of the mixed martial arts leagues. Since 2001, UFC has employed strenuous rules and regulations to protect its athletes, including medical testing and safety requirements more rigorous than those in professional boxing.
Griffo said that he is also upbeat about the potential for Matt Hamill, a New York Mills–based fighter, to fight in a match at Utica's Memorial Auditorium. “I think it would be great for one of Ultimate Fighting’s stars to be able to appear before his hometown fans,” Griffo said. “It would also be a tremendous shot in the arm for the economy of Utica and the surrounding region.”
Griffo noted that a 2008 study reported that a UFC event in New York City would generate $11.5 million in net new economic activity: $5.3 million in direct event spending, $1.4 million in non-lodging visitor spending, and $4.9 million in indirect/induced benefits. UFC events would produce substantial employee compensation: UFC events require over 300 staff working on the event, equivalent to the creation of 88 full-time local jobs per event. The 2008 study found that a UFC event in Buffalo would generate $1.7 million in direct event spending, $1.4 million in visitor spending, $2.1 million in indirect/induced benefits.
“I have been trying to get New York into this market for two years,” Griffo said. “The longer we wait, the more revenue we lose. I call for fast action to approve these competitions to help our economy and our communities.”
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