With August right around the corner, area MMA fans will get what they’ve long waited for - a UFC event at the Garden.
It’s a natural reaction for MMA fans to get excited, but don’t be surprised to also see members of the Massachusetts State Athletic Commission walking around with an extra bounce in their steps. UFC 118 on Aug. 28 is the apex of why MMA was regulated in the Bay State in the first place. It’s the reason why members of the commission have been working diligently since their start-up in March.
When UFC 118 arrives, the commission will have already been through the ringer, so to speak. Aside from multiple local MMA shows, the commission has already dealt with its first nationally televised show (Bellator) and its first pay-per view show (Moosin).
“We’re obviously thrilled. There is no doubt about it. We will be the center of the MMA universe on that night,” commissioner Todd Grossman said. “(UFC 118 will) be regulated the same way every show is regulated. It’s obviously a bigger show. From the regulatory perspective there’s very little difference.”
The UFC has also put a lot of time and effort in ensuring that the commission is headed in the right direction. In May, UFC sent vice president of regulatory affairs and former Nevada deputy attorney general Marc Ratner along with Mike Mersch, the assistant general counsel, to go through the state’s set of MMA regulations with a fine comb.
That’s a major part of Ratner’s job, to not only help states get the sport approved but to get them on the same page with the unified rules.
“We put the effort to fly in there and help them. We do that wherever we can because these commissions just don’t know,” Ratner said. “Sometimes when these states first make the regulations they try to just incorporate the boxing and change a few words for the sport. So you have to look at every line and every word. We have a pretty good template of what needs to be done.”
According to Grossman, UFC has its Massachusetts event license and has already submitted a fight card. The world’s largest MMA promotion and the state’s commission have been in constant contact throughout the summer.
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