Dana White Takes Manhattan

January 13, 2011

Regulation was the order of the day.

As expected, the subject of today's press conference at Madison Square Garden was the regulation of mixed martial arts throughout New York State.

UFC President Dana White was joined by Owner Lorenzo Fertitta, President of Madison Square Garden Sports Scott O'Neil, and UFC Lightweight Champion Frankie Edgar to discuss the benefits of regulation.

Dana White opened by noting that of the 47 states in the U.S. with athletic commissions, 44 currently regulate the sport if mixed martial arts. "We already know that New York is filled with UFC fans," White continued. "It's time for UFC to do Madison Square Garden."

Lorenzo Fertitta pointed to an independent study by HR&A Advisors, who found that regulation would result in $23 million in annual new spending and the creating of over 200 jobs. "This study shows that by regulating MMA, New York can reap the economic benefits statewide," Fertitta said.  The full study is available here.

Madison Square Garden President of Sports Scott O'Neil discussed his last birthday, where he and his nephew crossed the river to Newark, New Jersey for UFC 111. "I've spent a lot of my career around professional athletes", O’Neil remarked. "I've never seen anything like what I saw that day." He noted how he looks forward to the day that the UFC can hold an event at MSG. "The World's Most Famous Arena, there's no better place to hold the world's fastest growing sport."

State Assemblyman Dean Murray was in attendance, saying that although he would not speak for Gov. Andrew Cuomo, he was optimistic that the Governor seems open to regulation.

UFC Lightweight champion Frankie Edgar spoke of his New Jersey upbringing and his love of New York sports teams like the NHL's Rangers, who play in Madison Square Garden. "It's been a lifetime dream to fight here at the Garden… I'd just like to give the fans in New York what the Jersey fans get."

The lightweight champion summed up the day's events by saying "I can't wait 'til I get to fight here."