SD Senator envisions biggest UFC ever, at Sturgis


Bleacher Report's Damon Martin caught up with State Senator Mark Johnston, who is leading the thus far successful efforts in South Dakota to pass a law mandating the Regulation of mixed martial arts.

The losing side is represented by Representative Steve Hickey who called mixed martial arts "the child porn of sports."

"It's not over yet," said the good Sen Johnston. "Because it was amended in the House of Representatives we still have to concur in the Senate over the House changes.  I support those changes, but the real challenge is when that bill comes before Governor Daugaard and what he does with it.  Either sign it, veto it or not sign it which in effect will allow that to go into law. Most importantly, I'm excited for the athletes in South Dakota.

"I believe that this will go a long way to change the perception that MMA has in South Dakota.  All throughout this process it has absolutely angered me the number of people who use the negative connotation of cage fighting with MMA.  We all know that a regulated sport like MMA will do away with 99-percent of the problems that we've had in South Dakota."

"There were two things that drove me everyday with this piece of Legislation – athlete safety and opportunity. I think we've addressed athlete safety several times throughout these discussions but also from an opportunity perspective we have former heavyweight champion Brock Lesnar who is a native of South Dakota, we've got a guy like David Martin, one of the most prominent managers of mixed martial artists in this country, all proponents of MMA."

This is a battle between dreams. Rep. Hickey, well, I wouldn't want to speculate about his dreams. But Sen. Johnston dreams of the biggest MMA show ever, at the Sturgis Motorcycle Rally. Sturgis, SD is a town of 6,000, that grows once a year by 500,000, when motorcycle enthusiasts worldwide roar in for a week.

It brings an estimated $800,000,000 into the state.

"Importantly from a venue perspective having the Sturgis motorcycle rally the first 10 days of August in the beautiful Black Hills of South Dakota every year," said Johnston. "That attracts some half a million people over that 10-day period."

"Picture the possibility of holding at some point in history, holding the largest attended MMA event in the history of the sport in conjuncture with the Sturgis motorcycle rally. Talk about the prominence that will bring to South Dakota.  All because we have a sanctioning, governing body that will be a promoter of that type of event. 

"I'm thrilled by that possibility."

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tags: Regulation   Legislation   UFC   South Dakota   

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Recent Comments »

kwnel2178 site profile image  

3/3/13 12:42 AM by kwnel2178

What happened to UFC at cowboys stadium.

kwnel2178 site profile image  

3/3/13 12:41 AM by kwnel2178

Actually WCW made a ton of money from thoses shows, but it was largely from contributions from sponsers like Harley Davison and Budweiser. What happens it the tickets tend to be alot cheeper, but on the downside there are no real places to sit.

The Shockmaster site profile image  

3/2/13 11:59 AM by The Shockmaster

Massive in what way? Definitely not in terms of ticket sales. WCW ran events there and they had to give away all the "tickets". Those shows had tens of thousands of people watching, but they didn't make a penny for the company.

UGCTT Molsonmuscle360 site profile image  

3/2/13 11:50 AM by UGCTT Molsonmuscle360

Generally, no.  During Sturgis.  Yeah, definitely.  Basically goes from one of the smaller towns in South Dakota to the largest city overnight.

Bruce Hoyer site profile image  

3/2/13 9:21 AM by Bruce Hoyer

It would have to be an outdoor event like the one done in abu dhabi. Being from South Dakota I would love to see it but who knows if it will happen.

Wes_Mantooth site profile image  

3/2/13 9:04 AM by Wes_Mantooth

There isn't a stadium in Sturgis or anywhere near Sturgis that could handle a UFC

eagleswhat1 site profile image  

3/2/13 9:00 AM by eagleswhat1

is there enough people in SD to fill a stadium?

Kirik site profile image  

3/2/13 8:38 AM by Kirik


stonepony site profile image  

3/2/13 5:54 AM by stonepony

Where would the event take place? They could sell out any venue in the area during the bike rally.

newjack900 site profile image  

3/2/13 2:34 AM by newjack900

Double - apologies