Marc Ratner, the vice-president of regulatory affairs for the UFC, predicted if all goes well the first regulated MMA show in New York could be held in the first quarter of next year.
"To me there's no fathomable reason the sport shouldn't be regulated in New York," Ratner said. "Nobody can give me a real reason for it not to be here. This isn't 1995 anymore. They do have rules. It's not no-holds barred anymore."
Bringing mixed martial arts under the regulatory control of the New York State Athletic Commission is in the budget proposed by Gov. Paterson and members of the Senate. It was pulled out of the budget formulated by the Assembly. Still Ratner remains, "cautiously optimistic" a bill will get passed this summer. "I'm feeling very strongly we're going to get it done," Ratner said. "I'm feeling confident."
Based on surveys, Ratner estimated half of the sellout crowd of 17,000 at the Prudential Center for UFC 111 Saturday night was from New York. Another 2,200 watched the UFC 111 viewing held at Radio City Music Hall in Manhattan. Ratner estimated $10 million in economic revenue could be generated by having a UFC event in New York. The company also will consider shows in Buffalo and Albany. Ratner said the first quarter of next year is logical to offer enough time for the NYSAC and necessary officials to prepare.
"I want the commission to be completely ready for it," Ratner said. "I want their employees ready, the judges trained, as well as the referees and inspectors. There's no reason for this sport not to be allowed in New York."
Ratner said the added expense of regulating MMA would not be significant because many of the costs are passed on to the promoters. "In New Jersey we pay for 10 inspectors at $80," he said. "We pay for the judges. We pay for the referees. We pay for the doctors. So it's a matter of time the (NYSAC) have to spend, but it shouldn't be a major outlay."
The UFC will hold its first regulated fight in Boston on Aug. 28. With Alabama signing a bill last week, 44 of the 48 states that have commissions regulate MMA.
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