Regulated MMA would bring $135,000,000 to New York state


The UFC held a press conference at 11 am ET in the MSG lobby to release a new report on the economic impact of MMA in NY. Ariel Helwani live tweeted from the event.

During the conference, ZUFFA CEO Lorenzo Fertitta mentioned in passing that the UFC planned 54 shows in 2014 (it will actually be in the 40s), and that regulating MMA in New York state would generate $135,000,000.

“We know what UFC events do for cities around the nation and around the world," said Fertitta. "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."

The report bases its figures on at least three upstate and two downstate UFC events a year, as well as the establishment of MMA training centers. The report estimated that New York would reap nearly $6 million in sales-tax revenue.

The bill to regulated MMA has earne bipartisan support, but has been thwarted for the past four years due to pressure from Nevada's Culinary Union 266, which has been spectacularly unsuccessful in trying to organize the Station Casino chain, which, like the UFC, is owned by the Fertitta brothers.

“I am hopeful that 2014 is the year that we legalize and regulate MMA in New York,” said Assembly Majority Leader Joseph Morelle, D-Irondequoit. “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.”

Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver, D-Manhattan, who has undemocratically failed to allow the bil to come to a vote said through a spokesman that "we haven’t made any determinations at this point” on whether the issue will be revisited in 2014.

Best line at the conference came from UFC middleweight champion Chris Weidman.

"Look into these hazel eyes, from one NYer to another, stop," said Weidman. "It's enough. Make it happen."

In a bizarre turn of events, some "fans" of the sport, led by the irreverent CagePotato, tweeted in opposition to the number of shows.
•Would any of you legitimately be interested in 54 UFC events per year? Basically one per week?
•Can't wait to see the MMA media market those cards as "PPV quality"...
•Seems like the UFC is in a race to the bottom as far as diluting their product as much as possible is concerned.
•And Dana White already complained that the roster was too big. Won't it have to expand even more to accommodate that many events per year?
•OK so think of the worst, bottom of the barrel fighter the UFC has. Now imagine tons of fight cards with fighters of that caliber on it.
•Of the 54 events next year, how many will be headlined by the IIir Latifis of the sport?
•Dana: We're putting on so many diluted cards that fans are losing interest. What's the plan? Lorenzo: Put on more cards.
•There are 2,430 games in an MLB regular season, and I don't care about that sport either.
•The UFC is going to learn the hard way that putting a mid-carder in the main event only makes them a main-eventer in a literal sense.

Fertitta said afterwards that he misspoke about the 54 fights, and that the number is actually in the 40s. He expanded on his remarks in an interview with Ariel Helwani.

“We are looking at expanding our Fight Night product,” said Fertitta as transcribed by CagePotato. “We have the bottom tier, we have the Ultimate Fighter which we’re taking around the world now. We have obviously the series on FOX Sports 1. We just got done filming The Ultimate Fighter: China which will air in January in China. We’ve got The Ultimate Fighter: Canada and Australia in production right now. We’re in pre-production for series in other various countries around the world. That’s our base."

“In the middle of the pyramid we have our UFC Fight Night brand. We’re gonna take that Fight Night product and expand it into Europe and into Asia next year…We’re gonna add fights in those regions so when you add them on to the 33 we’d do this year, it gets into that 40-ish type number.”

“Is that what I said? 54? It won’t be quite that. I think I misspoke. It’ll be in the 40′s. Right now, we’ll have some news coming up on where they’re gonna air. I think we’re gonna have some ground-breaking ideas as far as where that’s gonna be available.”

The numbers are pretty straight forward. There are around 400 fighters under contract with the UFC, and each needs to fight three times per year. That is of course 1,200 times a fighter has to step into the cage. With twelve fights per card, or 24 fighters, that is a total of about 50 fights that the UFC has to put on. You can take away some fights for injuries, and add some fights as there are likely more than 400 fighters under contract (UFC president Dana White referenced 475 fighters last year). But somewhere around 50 fights is about right, and nothing to whine about.

Thus the unfortunate fan reaction was unfortunate.

UG, would any of you legitimately be interested in 54 UFC events per year? Basically one per week? If you were busy, what steps would you take to prevent the TV from taking you down and holding you in place, forcing you to watch?


tags: UFC   Regulation   New York   Lorenzo Fertitta   

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MisterHawkeMMA site profile image  

11/22/13 11:31 PM by MisterHawkeMMA

NEVER understood how people can be mad at them putting on more fights. The amount of PPVs wont change, that is dictated by the market. So what actually is changing is that their are more free cards. More opportunity for fighters. More fights content for the fans. And more money for the company which will make it feasible for them to carry a much larger roster.

ender852 site profile image  

11/22/13 10:43 PM by ender852

Why do you have to shit on the fans and the customers of the product when they have concerns about the events that they pay money to view? Instead of listening to their complaints you call them pussies and crybabies.This website is so unprofessional and shits on its users like crazy, the same users that comprise the very content it sells premium memberships for, the community. The same community those in charge insult and bully at every opportunity. So fucking unprofessional and and demeaning.The fact that I've paid for a subscription here the last three years is concrete proof that I am a masochist and somehow derive enjoyment from a community that loves to degrade me, even those at the highest level that run things.Fuck.

GregNoActionJackson site profile image  

11/22/13 10:40 PM by GregNoActionJackson

I don't get it. Fans whine about fighter pay yet don't want them to have a chance to fight multiple times a year. Mma is mma, not all are ppvs. If you're a fan of the sport then you should be fucking stoked. All of these "watered down" cards as so many like to put it, known names had to get their starts somewhere. Gsp wasn't always gsp and so on. Typically when you have lesser known fighters on a card they tend to be mute exciting bc they want to impress and not get cut. I for one am all for it and if you don't agree then go watch curling...sweep sweep sweep

ChaosOverkill site profile image  

11/22/13 10:24 PM by ChaosOverkill

To tie both issues in together is what my last response was for, cause I think both issues are relevant, the content is not going to improve skillwise, it has plateau'd, so the personalities and optics in the mainstream is the next step, and Dana is an obstacle to that.

ChaosOverkill site profile image  

11/22/13 10:21 PM by ChaosOverkill

  The they need to make some other changes and market their fighters better then, PPV model can survive on monthly "gotta check this out" appeal, the shift to 24/7 365 athletes is where they cannot and in other sports don't take a back seat to the commissionner in any sport for any reason. Yes, he gives news "interstingly", but that has to cease to be the reason people pay attention and tie the entire viewing connection and schedule awareness. The content has to be solid enough that if Dana was sick tomorrow and couldn't talk for a year the whole thing doesn't crumble to the earth so, if the new model you describe is their foot forward it's time to jam the fighters into the mainstream every singl opportunity you get, especially in their home towns.  

MMALOGIC site profile image  

11/22/13 10:15 PM by MMALOGIC

That's changing... ppv is becoming less and less the focal point.  The model is changing.  Zuffa is hitting record revenue not because ppv is at record highs but because distribution deals and strategy have been refined. Zuffa has partnered with telavisa (the biggest media company in mexico and second biggest behind globo in all of latin america) in launching a 24 hour UFC channel in latin America. You need a shit load of fresh content to run a 24 hour network.  The live events have to grow. This is the model zuffa is transitioning into... from the "WWE" model of PPV back end to a discovery communications model of ad support plus subscirber fees.

john joe site profile image  

11/22/13 9:34 PM by john joe

bellator is a small organization which doesnt rival the UFC in any meaningful way. Interest in it is low, which is reflected in page views and hits. Few people are really interested in it. Thats basically it.

RASHADsBBCGAVeMeaVAGiNALtear site profile image  

11/22/13 8:34 PM by RASHADsBBCGAVeMeaVAGiNALtear

Fighters will have to fight every 4 months. Dems the rules now.

ChaosOverkill site profile image  

11/22/13 8:33 PM by ChaosOverkill

  My point of view was not merely to express what the consumer sees but what is sustainable business modelwise, the UFC makes their most off of PPV's i have to assume, to put any degree of threat to the numbers seems dumb to me, and my evidence is the lack of PPV numbers being anywhere near what they got near the peak in a while, since March essentially and that indicating that it relies on one of two fighters to reach them. I would think the UFC doesn't want to create reasons that would get worse, just my opinion. And we are talking eras here, anything Pre-peak is a throw away now because peak-forward is what you can establish as "potential viewers" and potential "buys" anyting before what BRock and GSP started to establish is unreliable and moot to this conversation as far as the business model.  

Kneeblock site profile image  

11/22/13 8:17 PM by Kneeblock

I think more MMA is a good thing. The notion of "diluted cards" is just based on fan favorites, not the skill of the combatants in the cage. I would go so far as to say the worst performer (i.e. the fighter who has been KOed in the first round in his last 2 fights) of a modern card would still make it to the judges with the best performer on a card from 10 years ago if they were plucked from time. The technical level is just awesome these days, so seeing more of it is never not fun.  On the other hand, the revenue projections for New York are woefully misleading. New York venues get booked quick. It's not like the arenas are sitting empty and unused (except maybe Nassau Collesseum). They get booked every year to near capacity by shows that bring in just as much or more revenue than the UFC. Having the UFC here would be great, but it doesn't really add much to our economy. The real reason it should be here is because there are fighters out here sacrificing themselves for free in dubiously organized shows and their safety is on the line. The Culinary Union may or may not have a legitimate gripe, but said gripe is putting fighters across the state in jeopardy.